May 17, 2001.
Best Online Arts Booster: TheHiddenCity.com
Reprinted from TimesUnion.com/Albany2Go.com.
So you say there's no arts scene in Albany. No real local talent in music, poetry and visual arts. It's obvious you haven't visited thehiddencity.com yet. The brainchild of a collective of 25 local performers, the Web site is a showcase of the good things happening in the arts in Albany. "Albany is a grand and great city, an area of many assets, both natural and man-made," the site's manifesto states. "Somewhat less evident is the depth of artistic talent that this area holds ... TheHiddenCity seeks to right this wrong, and let Albany and the rest of the world in on one of its treasures."
The site is updated seasonally with a variety of creations by local artists, who contribute audio, video, poetry, prose, photography and visual art. It's an opportunity for the musician to write, the filmmaker to sing and the poet to paint. The names are both familiar and new -- Amy Abdou, Jason Martin, Mary Panza, R.M. Engelhardt, Troy Pohl, Aindrea Brennan Richard.
From a Web user's point of view, it looks cool. Designed by local musician/web designer Bryan Thomas, the graphics are clean, simple and elegant. The site is easy to get through -- the current season's offerings are up front with a link to an archive of the past. The writing describing the site and its mission is friendly and funky. (To fully experience the site, you need the capability to play MP3s, RealMedia and Flash, all of which are available in free downloads.)
Above all, the site succeeds in shining a spotlight on the Capital Region's vibrant arts scene, online and in real time: The collective has held three public events since its inception -- most recently Why Can't I Be You? where performers gave their own interpretations of the works of their local colleagues.
Reprinted from TimesUnion.com/Albany2Go.com, May 17, 2001.