Our Vision Statement
Our project’s simple Vision is to “enchant young and old alike with the finest carousel in the world, promote the artistry of carousel building by sharing our skills and talents and build community spirit by opening our venue to events and activities.”
Details About The Carousel
This carousel will consist of 52 animals and, being a menagerie style unit, will have a variety ranging from a seven foot plus tall giraffe, dogs, cats, zebras, unicorns, dragons, and yes, even lions, tigers, and bears, (oh my just to name a few)! The animals will be situated on three rows, where the outside row (large animals) will be “standers” while the middle and inside row animals (medium and small sized respectively) will be “jumpers”. Each row will also have two replacement animals and there is also five seasonal animals planned, bringing our total to sixty-three animals.
The Albany Carousel is fortunate to have a 1909 Dentzel Carousel Corporation mechanism donated to our project. Our initial plan was to purchase a new mechanism that would hold 32 animals. However, Bill Dentzel, great grandson of Gustav Dentzel the founder of Dentzel Carousel Corporation, heard of our project and arranged for the antique mechanism to be donated to us. The Albany Carousel owes a great debt of gratitude to both Bill Dentzel and the National Carousel Association, the actual owner of the mechanism prior to it being donated to our project through Bill Dentzel.
This classic mechanism has taken over ten years to restore to working order, every wooden gear tooth, every mirror panel, every motor that turns the carousel platform, has been meticulously restored. The lead engineer on this project is a gentleman by the name of Carl Baker, who with a fine crew of volunteers has done a fantastic job in turning this truckload of “oh my word, what have we gotten ourselves into” into the marvel it is today!
Carving and painting are the two most important skills that are taught to volunteers, they are the foundation for everything that is being created.
Much of the carving takes place by individuals that are complete beginners. For those starting out, we loan out the tools necessary to begin your adventure and set you on the path with a beginning project. We give brief introductory carving instruction and discuss safety, then we turn you loose to create your art!!! Everyone advances at their own pace and there is always somebody around that is willing to answer any question you might have. Soon you will see your carving come to life.
Painting is also performed by volunteers and, like the carvers, they start on beginning projects and advance at their own pace. The painting process is called “stippling”, it is time consuming activity but the results are amazing. We use oil paints and document what paints are used on each animal so when the time comes an animal can be repaired.
We also invite experienced carvers and painters to join us and provide instruction for volunteers. Help with passing on techniques that were once common place but now considered “old-world” is a major goal. We provide this instruction to anyone over the age of 14 who demonstrates both the desire to learn and to adhere to our safety standards and general policies.
Museum and Gift Shop
Our museum and gift shop are also staffed by volunteers. Docents who spend time learning about our museum display pieces, informing the visiting public of the history behind those items, and speaking in general about the project are rewarded with the awe that is introduced to those that had no idea about this past art, sometimes docents even give tours of the project if they wish.
We welcome anyone who wishes to volunteer as a Museum Docent or Gift Shop volunteer, we will train these individuals about our project, how to give tours, and how to work in our gift shop. We provide the opportunity to meet new friends and learn new skills that will last a lifetime and even possibly inspire others in your life to participate.
Voting Board Members
John Boock – Vice Chair
Dianne Neglay– Secretary
Mary Ellen Eagles
Non-Voting Board Members
Melissa Saylor – Lead Painter
Jack Giles – Lead Carver
Terryl Witlatch – Lead Artist
Carl Baker – Mechanism Lead At Large
Jenifer Weinmaster – Executive Director
Rebecca Bond – AVA Liaison
Al Shattuck – Building Facility Manager
Liz Stevens – Volunteer Manager
Kasey Reinhart – Event Manager
Sarah Deane – Concessions Manager
Martha Miller – Gift Shop Manager
Ross Jackson – Lead Carousel Operator