Love Street Art? Then You Have to Check out the Murals in Plattsburgh, NY
November 3, 2023
If you’ve traveled to any city in the past decade or so, you’ve noticed the uptick in murals. We’re not talking about graffiti on abandoned buildings. Modern street art are murals done by both local and international artists. These pieces of art bring color, life, and culture to city streets. Most of them recognize aspects of the local culture that are noteworthy alongside citizens that have impacted the area’s history. The Adirondack Coast has embraced this trend with a developing collection of murals in Plattsburgh. Recognizing the attraction of the murals, the city has created a map depicting the artwork locations, artists, and dates of creation. Local community organization Outside Art has been vital in helping this vision come to life.
Clinton County History through the Eyes of its Children
Created in 2009 with Sue Young, Bucky Seiden, Sandra Morse, and Anastasia Pratt
137 Margaret Street
The oldest of the murals in Plattsburgh is by far one of the most interesting. Created by school children, the large artwork spanning the wall of a city building tells the history of Plattsburgh. From its origins with the indigenous people who held the land. To the first European settlers of Clinton County. Through battles and periods of industry. The beautiful piece spans several centuries over several meters of tile.
Mountain Lake Mandala
Created in 2015 by Sue Young
15 Bridge Street
This beauty is another tiled artwork, this time solo created by Sue Young. Hailing from Jay, New York, Sue Young helped create all three of the tiled murals in Plattsburgh. With a degree in pottery from SUNY Potsdam, she now owns her own pottery studio, Youngs Gallery.
Battle of Plattsburgh
Painted in 2015 by Shawna Armstrong
30 City Hall Place
Located on the exterior wall of Chapter One Cafe, the “Battle of Plattsburgh” is one of two small murals there. The three-paneled artwork honors the famous battle that ended the British invasion during the War of 1812. Responsible for a lot of the community art projects, artist Shawna (Armstrong) Jones now resides in Atlanta, Georgia operating her company, OTotally.
Woods and Wild Things
Painted in 2016 by Tory and Norman Taber
110 Margaret Street
If I’m being completely honest, Woods and Wild Things is one of my favorite murals in Plattsburgh. The adorable woodland creatures amidst the birch trees are just perfection. It actually reminds me a lot of the bedroom mural one of my best friend’s did for her son’s nursery. Add to that the fact that it is on the exterior wall of the local bookstore. It couldn’t be better.
Hint: when you’re visiting the mural in person, look closely. Small creatures are hiding further along the wall. Look high and low to see if you can find them all.
This piece was designed and painted by married couple Tory & Norman Taber. The local pair are both illustrators and art professors at SUNY Plattsburgh.
Painted in 2016 by Gharan Burton
25 Bridge Street
Of all the murals in town, this one is the most hidden. That’s because it’s in an alley behind the main row of shops and restaurants – don’t be afraid to venture back there to check it out! Although, when I visited, I was sad to see that vines had covered about half of the piece. Hidden behind the vines you can see a beautiful mural dedicated to the local farm harvests in the northern Adirondacks.
The artist, Gharan Burton, is orginally from Dominica but now lives in Plattsburgh most of the year.
Read and Grow! Dream Garden
Created in 2017 by Sue Young
19 Oak Street
The third tiled mosaic by Sue Young lives on the wall of the local library. Unsurprisingly, the theme of it is how reading helps you learn and grow. It’s beautifully done, with an array of flowers and farm crops growing throughout the mural.
Created in 2017 with Bucky Seiden
Plattsburgh International Airport
Similar to the Plattsburgh history mural downtown, the welcome mural at the Plattsburgh airport was created by local high school students. Led by Bucky Seiden, this mural is another tiled mosaic. It welcomes visitors to the area by showing them significant pieces of Plattsburgh’s culture and history.
* Note that the location on the map has an arrow next to it. That means it’s not exactly on its location like all the rest. So don’t be like me and drive up and down the same street five times. Looking for a mural that is actually indoors – and a few miles away.
4th of July in Plattsburgh
Painted in 2018 by Les Cosgrove
Corner of Durkee & Bridge Streets
The corner of Durkee Street and Bridge Street feels like the heart of downtown Plattsburgh. From that spot, you can see several of the local murals plus the sculpture garden, town clock, and the Saranac River. The oldest of the murals on that street corner is “4th of July in Plattsburgh”. It depicts a group of people watching a fireworks display over Lake Champlain. The mural was completed in 2018 by local artist and art teacher Leslie Cosgrove, done in the style of S. Booker.
Painted in 2018 by Jodi & Todd Brunner
1 Dock Street
This is another mural that is a little hidden as the location is not quite exact on the map. If you’ve hit the marina, you’ve gone too far. But just turn around and you’ll find this quaint mural alongside a nearby building. Depicting a trio of sailboats and a dragon in the water, this colorful piece is a hit with kids. The piece was designed by local husband & wife artists Jodi & Todd Brunner.
Painted in 2018 by Kevin Sabourin
30 City Hall Place
Music Mural is the second small mural on the side of Chapter One, this one at the top of the building (above the battle mural). Painted by visual and musical artist Kevin Sabourin, this piece is the most abstract of all the murals in town. It serves as a colorful contrast to the more realistic, historical piece below it.
Unity – All One Mural
Painted in 2018 by Sophia Temüjin Büchi
42 City Hall Place
“Unity – All One” is another mural that is a little bit hidden, because you have to go to the back of small outbuilding at the edge of MacDonough Park. Be careful, as the mural sits atop a hill with a steep incline. But the piece is beautiful, designed by Phillipino artist Sophia Temüjin Büchi in 2018. With four colorful, intricately adorned dolls, the piece represents unity. Despite the dolls differences in color, they still share a common bond.
Stop Domestic Violence
Painted in 2019 by Dennis Smyth
Corner of Durkee & Bridge Streets
If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for a good wing mural. Or any interactive mural you can “step into”. So I was immediately drawn to this beautiful set of angel wings, located next to the firework mural. But once I got up close to it, I fell even more in love with it. Because the mural is dedicated to stopping domestic & sexual violence. It even has a phone number resource in the corner. The artist, Dennis Smyth, is actually a tattoo artist right in Plattsburgh.
Painted in 2019 by Brendon Palmer-Angell
30 Brinkerhoff Street
The mural of Jean Arthur is absolutely striking. Her black-and-white portrait against a golden yellow background definitely stands out. The artist, Brendon Palmer-Angell, reminds me of another famous muralist whom I befriended while he was working on a mural in Syracuse. They both share a skill for hyper-realistic portraits, and specialize in both color and black-and-white. Although Brendon is originally from the northern Adirondacks, he got his BFA in Painting at Syracuse University and now lives and works in New Orleans.
But who is Jean Arthur? She was a silent film actress from the early 1900s. As you might have guessed, her mural graces its presence here because she was born and raised in Plattsburgh.
Painted in 2020 by Gharan Burton with Amy Guglielmo & the Plattsbirders
17 Court Street
“Migrations” is one of the most interesting murals in Plattsburgh because it features over 40 different artists who collaborated to complete the piece. The large tree sprawling across the side of a downtown building features a wide variety of birds. And if you look carefully, you’ll notice that no two birds are alike. Neither in type or style. That’s because each bird was painted by a different artist, each contributing to the community ‘flock’. The project was led by Gharan Burton and Amy Guglielmo with the Plattsbirders.
Painted in 2020 by KC Reiter & Meredith Jacobs
10 Oak Street
The “Plucky Rooster” mural pays homage to the indigenous people of the northern Adirondacks. The ‘three sisters’ trio of corn, squash, and beans are prominent beside the rooster. The wuaint mural was done by local teacher Meredith Jacobs and local artist KC Reiter. KC is also known for her hand-carved and hand-painted signs that she creates for public businesses in Plattsburgh and her hometown of Morrisonville.
Painted in 2020 by James Golovach
23 Binkerhoff Street
The smiling sun is another very unique “mural” in Plattsburgh… if you can call it that. The large sun with a beaming smile is located on the back of the Strand Center for the Arts. While it is large in size like a typical mural, it appears to be wooden in nature. Like the tiles, another unique take on wall art, this time built with geometrically cut pieces of wood. The piece was created by local artist James Golovach, who specializes in small, decorative items for sale. Yes, you can even buy your own miniature sun.
Reach for the Stars! (The Michael Anderson Mural)
Painted in 2020 by Brendon Palmer-Angell
23 Durkee Street
Brendon Palmer-Angell came back for another realistic mural of a famed Plattsburgh resident. This time his mural highlights famous astronaut Michael Anderson. Originally from Plattsburgh, Anderson served in the United States Air Force before joining NASA as an astronaut.
He served on two different space shuttles, the Endeavour and the Columbia. Unfortunately, Anderson and his crew didn’t make it back home from their second mission. The Columbia was destroyed upon reentering the earth’s atmosphere over the state of Texas.
Anderson was posthumously awarded several medals for his service, including the Congressional Space Medal of Honor and multiple others from NASA. Multiple places have been named in his honor. A story of his life resides on a panel in front of the mural in Plattsburgh.
Painted in 2021 by NYSATA 5 & Fire Station #2; Designed by June Levenson
7 South Platt Street
Another mural that is just off the map, “Splash!” is located on the City of Plattsburgh Fire Department building. The colorful piece features the word ‘community’ prominently. That sentiment is shown in the mural through silhouettes of a firefighter spraying a hose and children playing in the water. Children from the local school helped to complete the mural.
Painted in 2021 by Andrew McGill, Guitsy Wolf, Meredith Jacobs, Kristen Larkin, and Amy Guglielmo
90 Bridge Street
If you cross the Saranac River heading away from downtown Plattsburgh, you’ll be greeted with a huge smiling sun wearing shades. It’s part of the “Community Garden” mural on the exterior of the local thrift shop. The vibrant mural also features a variety of over-sized flowers and several cats. It’s definitely one of the most fun murals in the city.
Painted in 2021 by Judy Guglielmo
10 Oak Street
The final mural in the Outside Art project (and in the borchure/map) is a simpler one. “Adirondack Forest” features a wall of trees in brown, green, and purple. The type of trees with minimal branches except for a rooftop canopy of leaves. The nice touch though is the slivers of gold paint lining some of the leaves and tree trunks. It brings a rich, shimmery element to the piece.
More Murals in Plattsburgh
All of the above murals have been documented in the tourism brochure “Murals of Plattsburgh”. But since its creation, more pieces of artwork have been popping up. The most recent is the “Welcome to Plattsburgh” mural, a multi-story, brighty-colored wall welcoming visitors to the Adirondack Coast city. The mural was finished in 2023.
Another fun “mural” find is for the Harry Potter fans out there. Next to the mandala mosaic on Bridge Street you’ll find some painted bricks and the words “Platform 9 3/4”. True Harry Potter fans (like me) will want to take a photo posing at the train platform for Hogwarts.