National Grid stops Albany artist from putting his art on utility poles

National Grid stops Albany artist from putting his art on utility poles

An Albany artist who planned to post artworks on city utility poles for a full year has confirmed that the National Grid ordered him to stop the project in the middle.

Patrick Picou Harrington had been posting an artwork on one city utility pole daily. He had consistently painted nearly 107 poles by the time an employee from the National Grid called him via phone and asked him to spot the work immediately.

Harrington said he was disappointed by the order, but added that he could understand why the National Grid passed the order.

Speaking on the topic, Harrington added, "They said I was doing it for all the right reasons. They appreciated it, but they said it just can't be done for legal reasons . if they allow me to put things on their poles, they have to let everybody."

Harrington's artwork on utility poles, with each piece drilled in, garnered media hype when the Times Union highlighted the work on the cover of its recent Preview section.

National Grid spokesman Patrick Stella said the artist was asked to stop the project after his work raised safety concerns. Stella explained that Harrington used large screws with sharp edges to drill his art into the poles. The screws could rip rubber gloves that workers wear for protection from electrical current. The spokesperson added that the utility's general policy prohibits such postings.

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