When it comes to decorating for the holidays, there’s nothing as dazzling as the collective creativity of youngsters. Each year, the Central Avenue Business Improvement District works with elementary students from Blessed Sacrament School, Brighter Choice Charter School for Boys, Brighter Choice Charter School for Girls, and the Albany City School’s Montessori Magnet School to craft stars for Central Avenue’s Shopping District.
This year, students decorated 800 stars to grace the fences at the district’s west end, including those in front of Westgate Plaza, Hannaford Plaza, and ShopRite Plaza.
“We love this project because it harnesses the creative talents of so many, and provides an opportunity for businesses and residents to work together to beautify the district,” says Anthony Capece, Executive Director for the Central Avenue Business Improvement District.
At Brighter Choice Charter School for Girls, the students painted stars during the after school program. Each student worked hard to make sure that the stars were completely covered with paint. “The scholars were so enthused about painting that they didn’t even realize they had paint on their hands and faces! They loved the idea that others would have the chance to enjoy their creativeness,” says Sheyla Escoto, Afterschool Program Coordinator.
“This is the third year Brighter Choice Charter Schools has participated in the Star Program and we love it! The students are excited to decorate the stars, and are thrilled when they are able to see them up on display for the city to see,” says Jada Schmidt, Visual Arts Educator, Brighter Choice Charter School for Boys. “This program helps give them a sense of pride in the work that they create because they are able to see others enjoy it all season!”
Each year, this project gets bigger, and it simply wouldn’t be possible without the additional support of our generous “Star Sponsors”: Hannaford and ShopRite. We also want to express our appreciation for our “Star Student Supporters”: American Glass Company of Albany, Honest Weight Food Co-op, Hudson Valley Community College, Danker Florist, Lexington Vacuum, and Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany.
“The holiday season is a special time of year, when generations of children have experienced the joy of creating and sharing art they made by hand,” said Hannaford Community Relations Specialist Amy White. “Hannaford is thrilled to be part of realizing this holiday tradition, as part of a program that our Central Avenue supermarket associates and customers can enjoy.”
“As a member of the Central Avenue community, Hudson Valley Community College is pleased to support this effort, which not only helps celebrate the holiday spirit but also the creativity of Albany’s elementary school children,” said HVCC President Drew Matonak.
“All of us at NABA appreciate the work that the Central Avenue BID does throughout the year, but we especially like participating in a holiday event that shows off Central Avenue and includes our neighbors and the creative work of so many children,” says Christopher T. Burke, Executive Director/CEO of Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany.
Tracy Abbott, co-owner of American Glass Company of Albany said the project is a great way to get children involved in the neighborhood. “Obviously, the CBID has done a lot to upgrade the way Central Avenue looks, and this is a nice way to get the children involved in that effort, and in the larger community,” Abbott says.
The stars and holiday garland will be hung on the fences in front of Hannaford Plaza, ShopRite Plaza, Westgate Plaza, Monro Muffler, and Mavis Discount Tire through the first week of January. Please stop by and see these students’ beautiful work.