Over the course of 5 weeks during the summer of 2017, I had the privilege of mentoring and educating a total of 40 adolescences in Albany, New York. Out of the 40 adolescences, I worked intimately with 11 of them to create a Community Enhancement Project through the use of Public Art. This opportunity was provided by the City of Albany’s Summer Youth Employment Program & was located at the historic Stephen & Harriet Myers Residence on Livingston Avenue (formerly Lumber Street).
On several occasions I have attempted to summarize my experience in a written format & each time I make an attempt, I fail to accurately articulate all the thoughts & emotions that I experienced while working with those adolescent. We researched a tremendous amount of historic information including but not limited to the Underground Railroad, Slavery, & Abolitionist such as Abram Johnson, John Johnson, Harriet Myers, & Stephen Myers. We meticulously studied historic maps of Albany New York in addition to researching historic documents about the Erie Canal & Albany’s Lumber District. We did this in order to understand how our community developed over the course of time. We studied Archaeology, Architecture, Engineering, & Construction so we could apply that knowledge to our project. We even studied Heirloom Seeds & Plants while tending to The Abram Johnson Garden. We took this accumulated knowledge then designed & created a Public Art Project that we felt would enhance the community surrounding the Stephen & Harriet Myers Residence.
I honestly state that in all my years of mentoring & educating that this was by far the most rewarding experience I have ever been a part of. To work with this specific group of adolescents, to hear their thoughts, to see their work ethic, & to understand their passion to succeed inspired me to to work harder & to be more loving. I have never met a greater group of adolescences & more than anything else, I want to thank them for making me a better person.
As previously stated, I had a tremendous amount of difficulty articulating this experience as a whole & I hope that the following collection of photographs provides the viewer with a glimpse into this experience. Peace
Summer Youth Employment Program
Public Art & Community Enhancement Project
July 5, 2017 - July 28, 2017
Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Inc.
The Stephen & Harriet Myers Residence
The Abram Johnson Garden
194 Livingston Avenue
Albany, New York 12210
State Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historical Places
NYS Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation
Underground Railroad Heritage Trail of New York State
National Network to Freedom of the National Park Service