Created By: Upper Madison Improvement Group
How do you paint “community”?
That was the question Constance Dwyer Heiden faced in 1977, when she took on the task of creating a City Arts Office-sponsored mural on the side of what was then Mack's Drugs. Heiden, who grew up on North Main in the 1950s and ‘60s, saw it as an opportunity to pay homage to the neighborhood she loved – and she did it with a tribute to the small businesses at the heart of the Pine Hills. “How many hours I’d spent in Mack’s Drugstore and Stittig’s and the Petit Paris, and Ann Petersen’s – we’d go there to get our hair cut,” Heiden said. “Mom would run out of something and we’d have to run over to Cal Heller’s, a narrow store where the groceries were stacked up to the ceiling.”
A panel on the left pays tribute to the city with a rendering of City Hall; on the right is the Steamer 10 firehouse. The numbers at the top? They’re from the addresses of her childhood home and the homes of family friends.
By the time it was 35 years old, the Pine Hills mural was flaked and faded; and in 2012 neighbors organized to save it. Heiden, living in Pennsylvania, came back to Albany to oversee its renovation.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Pine Hills