GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Last fall, a series of electrical boxes in downtown Glens Falls went from drab, gray cubes to colorful flowers, plants, and depictions of city structures. Next, some of the city’s downtown buildings will get a turn.
Last weekend, the Arts District of Glens Falls—a project still forming its footprint in the city—announced the next step. The group is seeking local artists interested in designing and painting wall-sized murals across the sides of some of downtown Glens Falls’ iconic buildings.
The list is still tentative, but owners of several buildings around Centennial Circle and Warren Street have been part of the conversation. Buildings suggested as possible mural sites include the homes of Domino’s (144 Glen St.) and Raul’s Mexican Grill (164 Glen St.), at opposite corners of the mouth of Hudson Avenue; the World Awareness Children’s Museum on Warren Street; a long building owned by the Apostolic Christian Fellowship at 103 Warren St.; and the fountain side of the building at 20 Warren St., across the street from the offices of NY-21 Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. Although there aren’t guarantees without owners’ consent, artists are welcome to propose the place they’d like to use as their canvas.
“If somebody said, ‘I saw this place and I have a vision for how this art would look on this wall,’ we’re trying to expend some creative license to those artists, as opposed to just commissioning it,” said Kate Austin-Avon, founder of local PR group Advokate and a leader of the arts trail project in Glens Falls. “We do have a vision in mind, but honestly, we should leave it to the artists.”
Artists’ proposals are being sought that would include a resume and a list of prior experience, although previous public art experience is not required. Sketches of the concept the artist hopes to create are also required, along with photos representative of the work the artist has created in the past.
Artists are required to provide their own paint and other materials but will be paid for their work, between $10,000 and $20,000 depending on the individual scope and scale. The arts district project received $80,000 for Glens Falls’ Downtown Revitalization Initiative, which has also funded projects to revitalize the South Street area. The Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council (LARAC) is collecting submissions and coordinating the process of bringing the art to life.
The murals, much like last fall’s electrical box paintings, are part of a project to create an arts trail through Glens Falls, leading from the Chapman Museum on Glen Street to the Hyde Museum on Warren Street. There’s more in between the two than some might realize.
“The whole reason for the arts district is that there are 14 arts organizations within walking distance of each other, and you wouldn’t know it,” said Austin-Avon. “That’s the important thing to say to anyone in town: Glens Falls loves art.”
The current form of the trail isn’t quite far-reaching enough to connect some locations, such as the Glens Falls Shirt Factory, which houses several artists’ studios inside its four stories. Even so, it’s already forming. “Glens Falls Arts District” banners hang along the intended trail route, and will be joined in due time by sidewalk stamps and bike racks which guide the way—along with the murals.
The goal is to have murals finished by September 1. Locations are still tentative, but the reality is that the city of Glens Falls has its share of tall buildings that can act as the perfect canvas. It’s taken around eight years of organizing and planning to get the arts district project to this point, and you don’t have to look far to see other examples of building-wide art adding to the beauty of a community.
“If you look at Rutland, Vermont, you see public art all over the place, and they’re not much bigger than us,” Austin-Avon said. “If they can do it, we can do it too.”
Mural proposals can be delivered by mail or by hand to LARAC at 7 Lapham Place, Glens Falls, NY 12801; or emailed to email@example.com. The deadline sits at 3 p.m. Artist selection is expected to take place on April 12, and the planned start date for mural work is late April to early May.