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Nelson Tift bust unveiled on Front Street

John Sherman, great great great grandson of Nelson Tift, and his wife Marian, joined local officials and residents Wednesday for the unveiling of a new bronze bust, honoring Albany’s founder. (Staff photo: Brad McEwen)

John Sherman, great great great grandson of Nelson Tift, and his wife Marian, joined local officials and residents Wednesday for the unveiling of a new bronze bust, honoring Albany’s founder. (Staff photo: Brad McEwen)

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Nelson Tift bronze bust sculptor Gayla Catrett. (Staff photo: Brad McEwen)

Albany — Local residents and officials were on hand Wednesday afternoon to watch the unveiling of a commemorative bronze bust of city founder Nelson Tift in downtown Albany.

The bust, located on Front Street across from the Albany Conventions and Visitors Bureau’s Bridge House office, was designed and sculpted by area artist Gayla Catrett at the request of Downtown Manager Aaron Blair as part of an initiative to support art in the downtown area.

“What we want is to promote public art and creative sculptures” said Blair. “We want to encourage more public art. (For this) we thought Front Street was ideal. We didn’t want to put it inside somewhere.”

Joining local officials, which included Mayor Dorothy Hubbard, City Manager James Taylor and City Commissioners Christopher Pike and Roger Marietta, was Tift’s great-great-great-grandson and Albany native John Sherman and his wife, Marian.

“It’s a great honor,” Sherman said. “It’s nice to be a part of it.”

Catrett, who was approached about doing the sculpture almost a year and half ago, shared that although this was only her fourth sculpture like this, she thoroughly enjoyed the process and was glad to do it.

“I did not charge for this sculpture,” Catrett said. “My work on this was a donation. I just love to sculpt. I love to play with clay.”