Third DRI-funded Capital Walls mural completed in downtown Albany; artist Free Humanity available for interviews
ALBANY, NY: Downtown’s public art has grown by more than 1,000-square-feet following the addition of a Capital Walls mural by artist Free Humanity completed on Sunday, October 24. The mural was funded as part of Albany’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) award, through which Albany Center Gallery received a $72,000 award for the Capital Walls mural project to add four murals.
The mural, “All Hearts Are Connected,” encompasses 1,250-square-feet on 69 N Pearl Street and is the first Albany mural for the California-based multidisciplinary artist known for his colorful palette and multicolored hearts. Through all art created, Free Humanity’s goal is “Taking back the Humanity stolen from our minds by social manipulation and planting seeds of positivity through art and consciousness.”
The work marks the third of four murals funded through the DRI, with the first two completed in late 2020 and the final one expected to be completed in the Spring of 2022. The Albany Center Gallery, Albany Barn, and Downtown Albany Business Improvement District collaborated in development, management, and execution of the Capital Walls mural project. The $72,000 DRI award was administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal.
Announced as a third round recipient, Albany’s DRI award funds 12 projects and leverages $100 million in additional public and private development including the Capital Walls mural project, Skyway Gateway, and the Clinton Market Collective.
Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “The Capital Walls mural project is drawing well-deserved attention to Albany’s growing arts and cultural scene and making the city a more dynamic and exciting place to live. Through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, we are strategically funding projects like this one that attract long-term residents, tourists, new businesses and additional private investment in New York’s commercial districts.”
New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “The metamorphosis spurred by the DRI in Albany’s downtown is being seen and felt through major infrastructure projects and beautiful art installations. This latest mural in Albany’s downtown brings a brightness and vibrancy to the heart of the community. Across the state, we continue to see the vital role of public art in revitalizing downtowns by enhancing the unique culture of each location. The Department of State is proud to work with Albany and our agency partners through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.”
Empire State Development Chief Operating Officer and Executive Deputy Commissioner Kevin Younis said, "Public art projects like Capital Walls support the mission of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative by helping to create vibrant places that invite new businesses, investments and residents."
Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, “The most recent mural added as a part of the DRI initiative continues to enhance our downtown Albany streetscape. These public art pieces not only serve as a collaboration with our local artists, but invigorate our historic architecture making Downtown a vibrant hub of connectivity that is more attractive to future investors."
Mural Artist Free Humanity said, “Painting a mural to me is one of the most special things I get to do as an artist. I feel an artist can manifest their energy and put that in a form of paint that reflects that energy back to the community. My goal is always to arrest motion, to make people stop even for just a brief moment and hopefully make them think or plant a positive seed. I’m extremely grateful to be in Albany it’s a gorgeous city with lots of history and happy to be a part of the city.”
Albany Center Gallery Executive Director and Capital Walls Curator Tony Iadicicco said, "Art connects, inspires, uplifts and creates change, and the new mural by Free Humanity ‘All Hearts Are Connected’ accomplishes all of that. We are thankful to the artist for sharing their vision and creating a lasting impact to a space that was once a blank canvas. The #CapitalWalls murals team is always grateful for the partnerships and collaborations that help bring these murals to life and we look forward to our next one."
Albany Barn Executive Director Kristen Holler said, “This colorful piece by Free Humanity speaks to the goal of Capital Walls to bring public art to the Capital Region that inspires and uplifts. We’re thrilled to see this vibrant message of connection come to life in downtown Albany, and are thankful to the artist, partners, and funders for making this project possible.”
Downtown Albany BID Executive Director Georgette Steffens said, “As the heart of our Capital City, it is only fitting that these new hearts provide strength and vibrancy on our main corridor in Downtown. All three Capital Walls murals are an incredible addition to our skyline that serve to attract investment, visitors, and bring a sense of community pride for our neighborhood. Our thanks to the State, the City, Free Humanity, and our partners who made this project possible.”
About the Downtown Revitalization Initiative
The Downtown Revitalization Initiative launched in 2016 to accelerate and expand the revitalization of downtowns and neighborhoods to serve as centers of activity and catalysts for investment in all ten regions of the state. The initiative represents an unprecedented and innovative plan-to-act strategy that couples strategic planning with immediate implementation.
In the first four years of the program, the state committed $400 million to invest in downtowns that are ripe for revitalization and have the potential to become magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation, greater economic and housing diversity, and opportunity. The fifth round of the DRI will have an additional $200 million commitment. Participating communities are nominated by the state's 10 Regional Economic Development Councils based on the downtown's potential for transformation. Each community is awarded at least $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects that advance the community's vision for revitalization.
The initiative is headed by New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. Communities receive support from private sector experts and a team of state agency staff led by the Department of State in close partnership with Empire State Development, and state Homes and Community Renewal.
About Capital Walls
Capital Walls, launched in 2016 to elevate both public art and artists, has resulted in over a dozen murals across the Capital City and features both locally based and nationally-renowned artists.
Capital Walls has worked with artists to elevate the cultural profile of downtown Albany with uplifting, educational, and thought-provoking murals and works of public art that help create a sense of place that is attractive to a broad audience of residents, commuters, and visitors. Capital Walls is made possible through a partnership of Albany Center Gallery, the Albany Barn, and the Albany Parking Authority.