Public Art Projects to Transform Troy, Build Community
Public Art Projects to Transform Troy, Build Community
After years of planning, Arts Center of the Capital Region’s efforts come to fruition.
The presence of art in the public eye changes the way one experiences a city. From bold, monumental
murals to unexpected moments of whimsy, public art can enliven streetscapes and engage visitors and
The Arts Center of the Capital Region (ACCR) has been working with stakeholders from the City of Troy
and beyond for years, and in ways large and small, their vision is becoming reality.
When Troy’s master plan, “Realizing Troy,” was completed in 2015, ACCR saw an opportunity to jumpstart a conversation about public art in the Capital Region. In December 2016, ACCR secured
funding from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), with the support of Governor Andrew
M. Cuomo and the New York 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.
Troy Mayor Patrick Madden said, “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 organizations 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.”
The Troy Master Plan for Public Art’s vision statement reads, in part:
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.
Large and small projects will soon be underway across Troy to activate the environment and build
Breathing New Life into Franklin Alley
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,” said Elizabeth Reiss, CEO of ACCR. “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 Street in Troy at 6:00 p.m.
“Public engagement is a key component of this effort,” said Reiss. “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.”
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
The Franklin Alley Pedestrian Walkway Mural project is just one component of ACCR’s comprehensive
public art program. Additional efforts in the pipeline include:
• Troy Farmers Market Public Art Series – Participants of all ages are invited to make art for the
people, by the people – once a month from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at ACCR’s headquarters at 265
River Street. The series begins on June 22 with a Flower Garland Installation in the heart of
Downtown Troy. Collaborate with the lead artist to add a unique piece of art to a monumental
• Public Art Camps – One-week art camps in August will target youth aged 9-11 and 11-13.
Murals & More includes print- and poster-making and the creation of a collaborative mural for
display at ACCR. 3D Public Art will take the art-making process outdoors and feature a variety
of sculpture materials including paper-mâché, wire armature and textiles to fabricate small-scale
• MY STREET – A partnership with Troy Architectural Project (TAP) and the Troy Boys and
Girls Club, this yearlong program at School 2 will foster the next generation of planners,
placemakers and artists. MYSTREET will engage 20 fourth and fifth graders to improve their
neighborhood through public safety, events and beautification.
• 15 Middleburgh Avenue Mural – Working with TAP and artist Chip Fasciana, ACCR is
involving young people in the creation of a mural on a former electronic supply building in
Troy’s emerging North Central Neighborhood, near the Hudson River boat launch and park.
HGTV/Sherwin-Williams are sponsoring the paint for the project.
Throughout Troy, public art will support efforts where planning and placemaking come together to create
lively community spaces. According Reiss, “Through this public art program, the Arts Center itself has
undergone an institutional transformation. Our Public Art Program is a manifestation of connecting
community to the arts. We’re so grateful to our sponsors for their support of this project, including:
NYSCA; the Troy Savings Bank Charitable Foundation; the Troy Redevelopment Foundation; the
Upstate Theater Coalition for a Fairgame and generous members of our community.”
ACCR is the largest provider of arts education and art making in the region. Founded in 1962 ACCR has
been serving Troy for over fifty years. Its mission is to connect the community to the arts. Every year
ACCR distributes over $25,000 in scholarships for area youth to attend school break camps in downtown
Troy. Today, ACCR is working towards bringing the arts to where people live, ensuring there are no
barriers to participating in and experiencing the arts. Learn more at www.artscenteronline.org.