Throughout 2020, Discover Albany is highlighting Artful Albany by showcasing the many ways art is featured throughout the community in restaurants, meeting spaces, historic sites, rural areas, craft beverage facilities and more.
Downtown Albany's streets and parks are accented with many fascinating sculptures. Some tell tales of Albany's historic past and others celebrate the culture of New York's Capital City. Scroll on to learn the stories behind some of the sculptures in downtown Albany.
"NightFire" Tulip Sculpture
The City of Albany's treasured tulip is showcased as a sculpture! The steel painted tulip named "NightFire" was created by local sculptor Steven Rolf Kroeger. In 2008, a large scale windmill was burned to reveal the steel tulip on the Washington Park Lake. The tulip sculpture now stands in Wallenburg Park, at the corner of Clinton Ave and Broadway in downtown Albany.
Empire State Plaza Art Collection
The Empire State Plaza Art Collection is a treasure trove of modern art. The collection consists of ninety-two works of Abstract Expressionist art, including pieces by Alexander Calder, Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Joan Mitchell and Mark Rothko, on permanent display. It was formed under the direction of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller during the 1960s out of his desire to recognize the art movement that began in new York. The paintings and sculptures are scattered throughout the Empire State Plaza in the concourse, in office buildings and throughout the outdoor spaces. Stroll across the Empire State Plaza and admire the towering sculptures decorating the space. View the details on each piece at this link.
Tricentennial Park was created to celebrate the city of Albany's 300th anniversary. The charming park is a popular lunchtime spot and features an eye-catching sculpture! Designed by Steven Rolf Kroeger, the globe-shaped sculpture commemorates the 20-year anniversary of Albany and its Russian sister-city of Tula. Spy the stars on the metal globe marking Albany in the United States and Tula in Russia with a bridge linking the two spots.
Nipper Public Art
The Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID) has brought "litters" of "Downtown is Pawsome" sculptures to the streets of Albany over the past two summers. The public art project is based on Albany's famous landmark Nipper, perched above the Warehouse District. Dozens of local artists have been involved in creating customized, colorful Nippers scattered throughout downtown. Explorers can marvel at "Capital Canines" by artist Mitchell Biernacki in front of the Olde English Pub and then head around the corner towards the Discover Albany Visitors Center to see "Happy Puppy" by artist Hazal Ozturk. Head out on a doggone adventure to admire all of the Nippers!
Left: "Capital Canines" by Mitchell Bernacki
Right: "Happy Puppy" by Hazal Ozturk
Don't forget to look up! While visiting the historic Washington Park, spy an impressive display of hand-carved birdhouses in the center of a garden bed. The intricate wooden birdhouses were created by Albany artist William Schade. Find the whimsical birdhouse at Washington Park Road and Hudson Avenue in the park.
Photos courtesy of the Albany Institute of History & Art
Albany Institute of History & Art Sculpture Garden
After perusing the exhibits (many featuring sculptures!) inside the Albany Institute of History & Art, head outside the museum towards Washington Avenue. In addition to some seating, the lawn of the historic museum features an outdoor sculpture garden. Marvel at a large bronze work by internationally-known American sculptuor Joel Shapiro titled "Seven Elements". Admire "Working the Sails" a bronze and granite piece by sculptor John Van Alstine as well as a painted mild steel sculpture by Antoni H. Milkowski called "Windigo." The outdoor sculpture garden is a great spot to relax and enjoy the art!
Left: Joel Shapiro, Seven Elements, 2001-2003, Bronze, Given in honor of David Andrew Weir by Candace, Amelia, and Katherine Weir
Middle: John Van Alstine, Working the Sails, 1990, Bronze, Granite, Gift of the estate of Philip M. Smith
Right: Antoni H. Milkowski (1935-2001), Windigo from 1979/80, Painted Mild Steel, Gift of the Milkowski Family
BONUS: Henry Hudson Half Moon Replica
Eagle-eyes (or binoculars!) are needed to catch a glimpse of this one! The SUNY Administration Building, formerly the D&H Building and often referred to as "Albany's Castle", boasts the largest weathervane in the country! Capping off the 13-story high central tour, the 8-foot tall working weathervane is a replica of Henry Hudson's sailing ship, the Half Moon. While the ship may look tiny from the street, it is large enough to seat one grown man!