“Pawsome” Nipper statues painted by local artists on display in Albany

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Nipper, the local dog icon, has taken on some new looks as part of Albany’s ‘Downtown is Pawsome’ project.

You can see Nipper sitting atop a warehouse when driving down Broadway in downtown Albany. He’s a huge white dog, part Jack Russel, keeping a watchful eye over every car passing below.

Nipper became famous after posing for a 1895 painted called “His Master’s Voice”, in which Nipper is listening to an Edison Bell Cylinder Phonograph, which later became the logo for RCA.

Since last Friday however, smaller Nipper statues have been popping up all over the City of Albany, celebrating his iconic history as a model for gram-o-phones, and audio companies back in the early 1900’s.

The downtown-wide art exhibit downsizes Nipper from 28 feet tall and four tons, down to just three feet.

This year’s program features regional artists, each of whom has customized one of 20 sculptures of Albany’s famous canine resident.

“We received almost 90 applications to decorate these statues,” says Jason Bonafide, special projects manager with the Albany Downtown Bid.

Sarah Basset, a graphic designed for the famous Converse All-Star sneakers, now lives in Boston, but she is originally from the Capital Region, and when she heard about the Pawsome project, she decided to submit a bid.

The statues will be on display until May 2018.

The first ten statues have already been painted, and eight have already been placed, and bolted to street corners around downtown Albany.

The artists involved were able to customize each dog into their own masterpiece of colors, patterns, and themes. For example, a “steampunk” Nipper stands out from the pack.

The second set of artists is currently painting the next round of ten statues. The statues are expected to make their debut sometime this July.

Georgette Steffens, executive director of the Albany Downtown Bid says the Nipper statues will hopefully resonate emotionally with people who grew up in the area.

“I think for some people, it really brings them back to their childhood,” she says.

To learn more about the project, and to find your nearest Nipper statue visit: http://downtownalbany.org/pawsome

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