Public art project launch looks to transform Troy

The Record-1 year before

In December 2016, ACCR secured funding from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), with the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature, to develop a Troy Master Plan for Public Art.

Throughout 2017, ACCR worked with public art consultants Judie Gilmore and Todd Bressi to develop the Public Art Plan Advisory Committee to engage the local arts, cultural, business, and nonprofit communities as well as city leadership.

“Public art is more than paint on a wall or statue on a sidewalk – it’s a way to bring together neighbors, families, and community org...nizations to enhance the Collar City’s reputation as a cultural and creative hub in the Capital District. The City of Troy is pleased to partner with the Arts Center of the Capital Region to advance the Troy Master Plan for Public Art, an important effort which will enhance the vibrancy of our community,” Troy Mayor Patrick Madden said in a statement.

"Public art in Troy will not be seen as a simple amenity. Instead, it will be viewed as a vital platform for innovative experimentation and curious exploration that becomes a part of Troy’s creative and civic ecosystem – tapping into and uplifting the perception that Troy is the creative city in the Capital Region."

Officials noted that large and small projects will soon be underway across Troy to activate the environment and build community.

Today, Franklin Alley is an underutilized relic of the 19th-century alleys that connected Troy’s bustling thoroughfares – Broadway and River Street. But soon, thanks to a major public art project, Franklin Alley will be a downtown destination.

The Franklin Alley Pedestrian Walkway Mural project will connect restaurants and cultural venues and transform a vacant alley into a new gathering space for residents and visitors alike.

“Urban alleyways tell stories,” Elizabeth Reiss, CEO of ACCR said. “They are living environments inhabited by old fire escapes, boarded windows and graffitied doors, all evoking the lives of those who passed through them. Franklin Alley will help tell Troy’s story – past, present, and future."

Internationally known mural artist Joe Iurato has been chosen for the Franklin Alley project. A multidisciplinary artist whose works are built on a foundation of stencils and aerosol, Iurato’s murals have enlivened neighborhoods along the east coast United States for years. More recently, he’s become known for the unique placement and photography of miniature painted wood cutouts in public spaces.

The ACCR and Iurato are working to ensure that the mural is informed by a wide variety of experiences and voices. The Franklin Alley team includes elected officials, City employees, building owners, historians, residents, artists and youth program participants.

The Arts Center will host a public forum to discuss the project with the artist on Wednesday, June 26 at 265 River St. in Troy at 6 p.m.

“Public engagement is a key component of this effort,” Reiss said. “We’re envisioning the Franklin Alley project as a demonstration of best practices for placemaking. Unfortunately, we’ve seen communities install murals without reference to their environment or their neighbors. The ACCR is working as a community for the community, and we hope this will serve as a model for other public art programs,” Reiss noted.

Once the design is created, Iurato will install the artwork, working with his crew as well as artists and young people from the planning team. The mural will be unveiled in September to dovetail with the Downtown BID’s Restaurant and Craft Brew week and the launch of a marketing campaign by the Troy Cultural Alliance.

The Franklin Alley Pedestrian Walkway Mural project is just one component of ACCR’s comprehensive public art program. Additional efforts in the pipeline include:

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