Creative Curbsides Art at Bach & Arbor Hill/West Hill

January 6, 2021 | Art & Music

We invite you to view the new Creative Curbsides art exhibitions at our Bach and Arbor Hill/West Hill branches! This new public art project was done in partnership with Opalka Gallery as part of the Art at APL program.

The art graces the front windows of the Bach Branch and the Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch and is meant to be viewed from outside the buildings. Both exhibitions are viewable by the public now through March 31.

  • The Bach Branch installation is “A Beneficent Fluid Bathes Us” by Eight Plums, artist duo Gracelee Lawrence and Ben Seretan.
  • The Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch installation is “A New Day” by Dana Sela in collaboration with Kim Tateo of Tivoli Lake Preserve and Farm. 

“Like all other library services and programs, Art at APL had to pivot for the pandemic. We are thrilled to be able to bring some of the beauty that is usually found at our Pine Hills Branch via our collaboration with Opalka Gallery to the big, inviting windows at the Bach and Arbor Hill/West Hill library branches. We hope Creative Curbsides will be like a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us,” said Deanna DiCarlo, head of west branches, which includes Bach and Pine Hills, for APL.

For APL’s Bach Branch at 455 New Scotland Ave., Eight Plums, the artist duo Gracelee Lawrence and Ben Seretan, created “A Beneficent Fluid Bathes Us.” Lawrence and Seretan’s project responds to the building’s architecture, whose large, front-facing windows offer a wide view of the world from inside and an open view into the library from the outside.

Eight Plums used dichroic film to create a nature-inspired abstract design spanning the entire width of the front windows, transforming the building’s glass into an aquarium-like field of colors and shapes swimming in space. Dichroic is a term used to describe how crystals change colors based on light, viewing angles, and so on. The colors of the material change depending on where the viewer stands, or as pedestrians walk by. The artists’ abstract design is inspired by local waterways and the natural world, with images of flowers and budding leaves.

For APL’s Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch at 148 Henry Johnson Blvd., artist Dana Sela, in collaboration with Kim Tateo of Tivoli Lake Preserve and Farm, created “A New Day.” Sela’s design is inspired by the Tivoli Lake Preserve and Farm, a natural preserve in Arbor Hill committed to urban agriculture and environmental justice through conservation, environmental education, and outdoor recreation.

Sela designed a natural-themed landscape for the library windows with black tape, augmented by sections of colorful tissue paper, creating a “stained glass” effect across the building’s expansive front windows. Sela applied the tape design, and Tateo added the color sections. Tateo plans to offer a 90-minute online workshop in “Painting with Plants” to engage community members safely from their homes. Sela envisions the piece as “visual escape” from our current pandemic reality.

The Creative Curbsides initiative was created to bring beauty and art into Albany’s urban environment at a time when APL is meeting a large demand for curbside pickups and continues to offer important resources to the public. The Art at APL program is underwritten by the Friends and Foundation of Albany Public Library.

“When we realized that the Pine Hills Branch, which is the regular home of the Art at APL program, was going to have limited opportunities for exhibition viewing this fall due to the pandemic, we knew we had to do some kind of outdoor art installation at the branches that were doing a huge amount of curbside pickups,” said Opalka Gallery Director Judie Gilmore. “We are excited about the two projects chosen. Both projects will add a little color and joy to these neighborhoods in a dark time, and hopefully encourage more people to take advantage of APL’s curbside program. Art has an amazing power to uplift, and we all need a little more uplifting this winter.”

Stephanie Simon

Stephanie Simon is manager of APL's Communication and Creative Services Department, which provides content and information for the library's website, social media, publications, videos, podcasts, and other outlets. Stephanie also manages APL's public relations and marketing efforts.