Albany will be one the sites of Living Walls Conference this September 16-18, along with, of all places, Atlanta. Does the Living Walls Conference go in alphabetical order?
It is, quite simply, an urban art conference. However, it extends the concept by using art and aesthetics to create places out of our city that make it a more pleasant and rewarding place to be. It also is intended to create dialogue about the use of public space in America, something that has been lacking as the aggrandizement of private space in the form of automobiles and suburbs has become ubiquitous.
There have been a few fundraisers for this event, at places like McGeary's Pub in downtown. As I hear of more, I'll try to post them here.
According to their website: "Living Walls: Albany is a project designed to raise awareness about the use of public space. It is about exploring options that a smaller city like ours has in terms of bike commuting, sustainable energy options, urban gardening, rebuilding and/or reclaiming buildings as opposed to demolishing them. Through a series of lectures, performances, and the involvement of some of the world’s great mural artists, the Living Walls project is intent on creating an open dialogue between the people and city."
I fear they may have some trouble, in light of recent events.
As it turns out, our little city isn't as friendly toward public art as we would like to think. To summarize this article, a couple has placed a totem pole and a flower planter outside their house at Jefferson and Dove Streets, in Albany's Hudson/Park neighborhood. Lorilee Rooney and Thomas Gabriels received a Stop Work order from the city regarding the planter and totem. The two may be subject to a stiff fine by the city if they do not remove the objects. The story has caused quite a controversy at Albany's corner of the Times Union Blogs, and understandably so, with many pointing out that art is worth of code enforcement while derelict properties are permitted to remain.
If the weather holds, I'll probably take a walk up there tonight. I'd love to show the Pedestrian Perspective of this lovely neighborhood, in any case.