The Lydster: Nipper the dog as art

It is difficult to explain to outsiders the pull that the dog Nipper has in Albany. From the Albany Institute of History and Art:

“The twenty-eight-foot [8.5 m] tall, four-ton [3600 kg] steel and fiberglass canine statue anchored atop a warehouse on North Broadway has captured the hearts and minds of young and old alike for three generations.

“Nipper was a real-life dog in nineteenth-century England who was painted by the dog owner’s brother, Francis Barraud. He depicted the curious dog listening to a gramophone and titled it ‘His Master’s Voice.’ It became an internationally recognized logo for several audio recording companies, including RCA.

“Nipper came to his downtown Albany perch at 991 Broadway in 1958 following renovations of a rundown reinforced concrete warehouse built in 1900 to house the American Gas Meter Co.”

It is an iconic figure in New York State’s capital city, believe me.

Recently, it was announced that “the upcoming round of downtown Albany public art projects will be decorated statues of Nipper.

“For this year’s exhibit, the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District is accepting submissions from artists who wish to submit proposals to design 36″ tall [0.91 m] sculptures of Albany’s famous canine resident.”

As it turns out, an Albany middle school teacher and four of her seventh-grade students were selected to work on their entry for the “Downtown is Pawsome” project, the only school so honored.

“The project involves twenty local artists putting their creative spin on three-foot versions of Albany’s iconic Nipper statue. Their artistic creations will be placed throughout downtown Albany this month and remain on display until May 2018.”

The “Pawsome” project kicked off with a garden party at Tricentennial Park on June 16. But unfortunately, the artist in my household was out of town, visiting our nation’s capital. Still, I look forward to see these critters around town, and one in particular.

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