GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The alleyway between the Charles R. Wood Theater and Spot Coffee is closed – but not for the type of reason you might think. Then again, if you’ve been paying attention to the ever-growing arts scene of Glens Falls this year, you’ve probably figured it out.
Between valiant blocking-off efforts where the alley meets the Glen Street sidewalk on one side, and the City Hall parking lot on the other, two artists were hard at work on Friday. They painted in the windows of the Shirt Factory, added detail to the cuffs of old-fashioned clothing, and gazed at the completed likeness of Charles R. Wood – all parts of Glens Falls history, painted into neat little boxes on the side of the theater.
The artists behind the mural are Mike Ferrarell and Nicholas Capozzoli, two Chicago natives who have been painting in Glens Falls all week. Despite being out-of-towners, their knowledge of city history as seen through their work is thorough, from depictions of local newspapers to historic fires. For them, learning about a new place is all part of the job.
“We come to smaller towns and communities and work with the arts districts, the town historians, the librarians,” said Ferrarell, as he touched up the Shirt Factory on one square. “We just really like history – so we paint it.”
The mural is yet another manifestation of the Arts District of Glens Falls – and the final one to be painted this year. It joins two others on Warren and Broad streets, both by Centennial Circle – as well as a host of nine painted electrical boxes.
While the other two murals are painted on tall, open walls, facing traffic passing through town, this one is secluded by comparison. Ferrarell and Capozzoli’s process starts with a projector, which they use to cast a sketched image of the work to come onto the surface where they’re set to work. The alleyway makes that a challenge in terms of positioning, distance, and scale – but on Friday, their efforts were showing plenty of fruit.
The alleyway provides another challenge – people. One might see the “Road Closed” sign in front of the alley’s Bay Street side and assume that people would know not to cross it. They would be wrong.
“We’re right across from some of the bars, and we do a lot of work at night, and we’ve had some unrulies come through,” said Capozzoli, glancing at gaps in the entry where someone could slip through, if determined enough. “There are some people who don’t take no for an answer, and come and linger – but that’s all per usual when you’re working at night.”
The artists expect to be finished with the mural’s 30 panels by Saturday night. It’s been a complicated week for them to be in town, weather-wise, with highs hitting the 70s mid-week before plummeting to barely hit 50 on Friday. If things get too cold at night, paint can freeze as it dries.
That means ending on the weekend will be a conclusion just in time. The most recent trio of electrical box art projects in the city were given a Halloween deadline for similar reasons.
New York is new territory for the artists. They’ve gone through the process before, in Indiana, Iowa and Florida. Each time, they get to know the local businesses, eat the local food, and feel support from the community. Glens Falls has been no different.
“You get a different vibe from every city you go to,” Capozzoli said. “Everywhere’s got its own kind of feel.”
The Arts District of Glens Falls has also included sidewalk stamps, placed throughout downtown as a way for visitors to find their way to places like the Wood Theater, Hyde Collection and Cool Insuring Arena. Now, those stamps will also take visitors through the hand-painted history Ferrarell and Capozzoli will leave when they head back to Chicago.