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The art of building community

by Ali Hibbs on October 23, 2014 · 1 comment


Duck liver mousse and country pate canapés, gravlax of salmon, port wine cheese balls, BLT deviled eggs, local smoked trout and apple salad, Thai and jerk spiced popcorn bags, an artisan cheese display.

And, of course, lots of great local art and talented artists.

FUSION, the Albany Barn fundraiser this weekend, was a themed celebration of the Arbor Hill neighborhood in which the Barn and its companion storefront, the Stage 1 Gallery, reside. By an extremely apt and timely coincidence, the American Planning Association recently named Arbor Hill one of the top ten great places in America—citing, specifically, the “partnership formed between Albany Housing Authority, the City of Albany, and the Albany Barn.”

photo by Piotr Gurin

One way in which the Barn honored the history of Arbor Hill was to select four fashion designers to create ensembles reflecting the architecture of certain historic buildings: St. Joseph’s Academy (home of the present-day Barn), The Arbor Theatre, V.J. Franze & Sons Market, and Mike’s Log Cabin and Grill. Designers Katie Pray, Sylvia Jordan, Lakeshia Motley and Michael Maiello (respectively) showcased their work at the fundraiser accompanied by a media presentation by Mel eMedia, a creative multimedia venture by Board member and part of the FUSION event team, Jamel Mosely. (The outfits will also be on display the Historic Albany Foundation event, BUILT, on Nov. 1)

Albany Barn and Academy Lofts has come a long way since Metroland first walked through the dilapidated building three short years ago with Jeff Mirel, president of the Board of Directors, stepping over dead birds and imagining the multi-use arts mecca and affordable living spaces that it would eventually become. Now, say Mirel and Executive Director Kristen Holler, all of the apartments and studios are occupied and the Barn receives a steady stream of applications from artists and artisans at a ratio of approximately 3:1.

“Albany Barn has worked to establish an active arts presence on North Swan Street,” says Holler. “And provide interactive creative arts programming open to the neighborhood—particularly youth.”

According to Holler, more than 1,800 visitors having participated in programs, special events, live concerts, staged readings, theatrical performances, and visual art exhibitions produced or hosted by Albany Barn. “To maintain this momentum,” she told Metroland, “A coalition of neighborhood cultural organizations led by Albany Barn has begun implementing strategies that leverage creative arts for community building, such as coordinated exhibitions and live music in five Arbor Hill venues during monthly 1st Friday Albany arts nights. The purpose of this project, called “We heART Arbor Hill,” is to incorporate Arbor Hill into the city-wide 1st Friday events and highlight the cultural strengths of the neighborhood. Venues include The Barn, Harriet & Stephen Meyers’ Residence, King’s Place, Ten Broeck Mansion, and Stage 1 Gallery, with Stage 1 serving primarily as a youth and student works gallery.”
Donors to the silent auction at the fundraiser included: Albany Distilling Co., Elissa Halloran, Fort Orange General Store, Danatoon Studios, Mel eMedia, Sorelle Gallery, The Palace Theatre, Hudson Valley Design, Brew, Adirondack Appliance and many more. Food was provided by local “clean food” chef extraordinaire Ric Orlando.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Robert Pattinson October 24, 2014 at 11:58 am

Best donation of all was a painting by local up and coming artist Sarah Holub Schrom. I know it garnered lots of attention. And I missed out on the piece


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