Local Creator Jonah Michel Guides 10,000 People Around Albany

A local Instagram account (@aroundalbany) is making some big waves and just hit the storied 10,000 followers mark. So, we wanted to take a moment and celebrate Around Albany and the efforts of its creator, Jonah Michel.

Around Albany began in September 2020 when Jonah Michel opened an Instagram account to share random photos from around the city. A few people began following, but it was mostly just Michel’s friends and acquaintances. Nippertown was lucky enough to first discover Around Albany very early on after they made a post about finding a 3-foot concrete Nipper statue at a flea market downstate. From there the friendship and admiration grew. 

In February 2021, Michel became frustrated with the trash that was piling up in his own Downtown Albany neighborhood. Feeling embarrassed by the litter all around his block – Michel grabbed a friend, gloves, and trash bags – one hour and 20 pounds of litter later, he saw the immediate difference in the appearance of his block through such a simple and spontaneous act. 

“Where others see blight, we see opportunity. This city has the bones to be one of the greatest cities in the entire northeast.”

Jonah Michel, Around Albany

From here, Michel began meeting with local businesses, individuals, artists, and advocates to find ways to fill certain voids in the community. From here, Around Albany as we know it was born – and the mission of showcasing Albany from a lens of positivity and optimism kicked off. 

Jonah Michel
📸: @mwhalenphoto

For those that don’t know, Around Albany is a personal guide for those who live, have lived, or are thinking about moving to the Capital Region. The Instagram account showcases the best this area has to offer – art, architecture, cultural events, businesses of all sizes, and of course Albany’s long and rich history. They’re able to promote the revitalization of the city through the use of original videos, photography, memes, and other forms of cutting edge social content which lives on their various social media platforms. 

“This city has so much potential and we just want to see it realized.”

Jonah Michel, Around Albany

Around Albany exists because if you grew up in the Capital Region you probably know it’s common for people to say you should leave here as soon as you can. Despite the number of Albany’s downfalls (which all are not unique to just this city) they hope to show this is a great place to grab a cup of coffee, get an education, start a career, own real estate, raise a family, enjoy a night out with friends, or simply rent a CDPHP Cycle and ride around town. 

We had a chance to sit down with Jonah for a few questions about what’s next for Around Albany. 

Where do you go from here? What’s your plan for 2022, do you have a five-year plan?

From here, we’re focused on continuing to be a positive force in people’s social media feeds. We do have some exciting creative concepts that will bring this positivity into ‘real life’ through public art, pop-up events, and community-themed merchandise. 

Podcasts, newsletters, more original videos, and Albany-themed merchandise are all things you should expect from us in the near future. We just want to produce the highest quality content we possibly can – so be patient – it will be worth the wait!

What is your favorite kind of posts? Do you have a single favorite?

Our favorite posts have to be the memes – to us, they’re a fun and creative way to poke fun at rather hot topics. We strive to be thoughtful and deliberate with them, so we try not to overdo it.

Jonah Michel
📸: @iamjackdollard

How can businesses or organizations reach you to boost their shops or events?

The best way to connect with us is by shooting us a message in the DM’s. If there’s a solid way for us to help support an event or local business of any size, we’d be happy to do it.

“Once you turn off the television and walk outside… your entire perspective can change in a single moment.” 

Jonah Michel, Around Albany

Nippertown was lucky enough to be a part of Art Around Albany, do you foresee more of those types of events? Any plans?

Art Around Albany was such a blast – seeing over 100+ people come together in one night to celebrate our city’s art and history was a truly uplifting experience and wouldn’t have been possible without our event partners – Nippertown, Son of Egg, and Cloud Food Hall.

Although there aren’t any firm plans for the next event, we are playing around with other in-person pop-up events similar to Art Around Albany. Ideally, the next event would reactivate an underused park/public space within the city – we have our eyes on a few different areas that deserve more love and attention than they currently get. If we can realize the potential of an underused park, even just for one day, the impact of that moment could have a powerful ripple effect.

Do you have advice for anyone wanting to do this in their community? 

The best piece of advice I have is to just go for it. All it takes is an undying passion and commitment to being the change you wish to see in your community. We’re also around to mentor and collaborate with folks that want to impact our community in a positive way.

Be sure to follow @aroundalbany on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, and tag them when you see something awesome in this great city of ours.

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