Creating a City of Art


Testing boundaries and expanding creative limits

The Connective Corridor is teaming with Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) on an exciting $650,000 call for public art along the Corridor.

The jury is now screening applications from talented artists around the globe, and will be announcing public outreach sessions for the community to view work by the semi-finalists.

Providing leadership to this project is Dr. Lucinda K. Havenhand, Associate Dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts, who is a key member of our steering committee. This week’s blog post in our Syracuse New Times series focuses on the partnership between VPA and the Connective Corridor – connecting campus and community through the arts.

The partnership on our public art call is just one example of how VPA is creatively connected to the Corridor. Many of the Corridor’s public design projects have strong links to VPA faculty and students. Next month, the Corridor is partnering with VPA to promote Arts in April – a month-long celebration of the arts, with events happening across campus and in the community. Our goal is to work collaboratively and creatively to help shape a “City of Art.”

Here’s more on the partnership.

Arts in April

By Dr. Lucinda K. Havenhand, Associate Dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts


Dr. Lucinda K. Havenhand, Associate Dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts

When the College of Fine Arts (CFA) opened in 1873 it was the first degree-conferring organization of its kind in the United States, offering degrees in painting and architecture. Mark Marsden Maycock, first alumnus of CFA, graduated in 1875 with a bachelor of painting degree.

Throughout its history the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University (or VPA) has, as our website explains, been committed to the education of cultural leaders that “engage and inspire audiences through performance, visual art, design, scholarship, and commentary” by providing “the tools for self-discovery and risk-taking in an environment that thrives on critical thought and action.” Home to seven schools or departments (Art, Communication and Rhetorical Studies, Design, Drama, Music, and Transmedia), almost 2500 students and over 250 full and part-time faculty, VPA is ideally positioned to create transformative change through creative practices and scholarship.

As part of this effort the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University has always strived to take the lead in teaching art and creative practices. As the continued high ranking of its programs indicates, it has succeeded in doing that, with US News and World Report ranking the VPA graduate programs in Transmedia, Ceramics, Printmaking and Sculpture in the top 20 programs in the country, while Hollywood Reporter lists Film as #11 and Drama as #13, while the undergraduate programs in Industrial and Interior Design consistently are noted in the top 20 by Design Intelligence.

Connective Corridor

In order to achieve this high level of excellence, VPA has consistently offered a variety of programing and course opportunities that test students’ boundaries and expand their creative limits. The college’s students in all areas of art and design utilize an open atelier process of hands-on learning-by-doing under the direction of professional artists and designers. Through interaction with their faculty, colleagues, and visiting artists, as well as trips to art, design and performance venues and studios, students are able to attain an understanding of professional creative practice.

Graduate students from Art and Transmedia specifically learn about public art and its processes in a class called “Practicing in Public,” which includes direct observation and site visits. But, opportunities to learn about the procedures of doing public art commissions by actively participating in those processes are not readily available in an academic setting. That is why the College of Visual and Performing Arts is delighted that the Connective Corridor has asked us to partner with them on their recent call for public art for the city of Syracuse. In this partnership their project becomes our highly valued teaching tool.

Arts in April banner[8]

Under the direction of VPA faculty, students from the College of Visual and Performing Arts will not only have access to the various phases of this project, from the development of the call for entries, to the jury selection and reviews, but will be directly involved in interviews with the finalists and the planning and installation of the artwork. In the fall 2015 semester, artists selected as finalists will travel to Syracuse and VPA where they will present and interact with our students. Students will not only be able to attend presentations on their projects, but join in the dialogue about those projects, ask questions, visits the sites and actively observe the final selection process. When finalists are selected students will be able to then volunteer to help each of the artists chosen with various aspects of their project’s development. This may include visiting the artists in their studios and helping them with fabrication and installations.

The opportunity for hands-on involvement with these projects adds immeasurable benefit and richness to our students’ program of study by allowing them to interact directly with this group of artists from all over the world and the processes of this competition. Our goals of expanding student boundaries and providing “tools of self-discovery and risk-taking” are well met here. In doing so this project not only expands the classrooms of Syracuse University into the larger Syracuse community through the duration of this project, but also helps create in its realization a “City of Art” that students can learn from for years to come.

For more information on Arts in April – CLICK HERE

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