Timing influences projects—bandwidth and scheduling can sometimes be the difference between saying yes or having to pass. The project with the Preservation League of NYS was in the planning stages in September, which meant in addition to the typical challenges of budget and timeline, we face the added complication of COVID-19. Several of the locations for the winners of the Excellence in Historic Preservation Awards were squarely in COVID hotspots. We’ll talk more about that in another post. Let’s take a look at a project that depended on time.
“In New York State, preservation and reuse of our historic buildings is fundamental to the economic revitalization of our cities, towns, and villages…As we live through an unprecedented period, we think it’s especially important to take time to celebrate the people who are using historic preservation to make our lives better.”
We created a piece to showcase the special projects, which demanded photography and video that conveyed the reverence and tenacity required to accomplish these transformations—details, light, shadows, all making us see what we might overlook otherwise. Our crew studied the properties and their histories in advance; the presence of one right in Glens Falls was a sweet bit of serendipity. Kacey Visser, a graphic designer at Trampoline, leaped at the chance to break her WFH schedule with a photographic tour of Troy, where she lives.
Kacey Visser: The Impact of Truly Seeing Preservation
2020 has been a year of counting ceiling tiles and getting more acquainted with the inner workings of our homes than we ever could’ve imagined. After six months of experiencing little more of my surroundings than the local grocery store and laundromat, I was ecstatic about participating in a Tramp video and photoshoot in my home city of Troy. Diana S. Waite, a 2020 Excellence in Historic Preservation Award winner, was our subject and historical guide. We spent the day rediscovering Troy through the lens of Diana’s award-winning book, “The Architecture of Downtown Troy: An Illustrated History.”
Our journey began at the Frear Building. From the outside, the building’s beauty and history are evident. Still, I never would’ve expected that hidden behind its walls, nestled between office spaces and a CVS, would be the marble floors, ornate staircase, and sprawling glass ceiling that once housed Frear’s Troy Cash Bazaar. Now quiet and occupied only by empty scaffolding, it wasn’t difficult to imagine the grand space as it once was, with its shops and bustling crowds full of life.
As we continued our walk through the city, other locations revealed themselves to us in a similarly glorious fashion, as was the case for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Inconspicuous from the exterior, a spectrum of colored light awaited us inside. The stained glass windows illuminated by the afternoon sun glowed in jeweled tones. The windows are a great source of pride for the church. Impressively almost all of the windows are made with Tiffany glass.
As the day went on, beauty met us around every corner. The Troy Public Library treated us with unexpected beauty as the ornate shadows cast by the wrought iron railing in the autumn light danced across the vibrant teal and golds of the space. The smooth, white planes of the building façade were dappled in color from the sunlight through the trees. Diana’s perspective placed the often unnoticed details of the building’s architecture in a rare spotlight.
I was in awe at how much I’d missed seeing. It’s easy to take your surroundings for granted, especially now, and while it might not be the best time to explore all the ins and outs of your hometown, we could all benefit from looking forward to something. One day, when this hell finally thaws from its deep-freeze, remember that there is a whole world around you filled with stories and secrets, ready for you to explore. There’s a good chance you’ve been missing something.
Recognizing Things That Benefit Us All
COVID-19 has placed enormous burdens on people around the world. It’s easy to forget the bricks and mortar, corner stores, and community activists who are assiduously doing the work that’s needed but not necessarily heralded. Transformative things are happening all around us, often right beneath our noses. This opportunity to mount a massive production schedule, coordinate with people from widely different backgrounds, and to combine the distinct talents of our team, all the while lifting the work of remarkable people around the state, was incredible.