Curating the Corridor

$650,000 Call for Public Art

This month, Syracuse University, through the Connective Corridor and the College of Visual and Performing Arts, is launching one of the largest calls for public art in the country. It’s a project that is gaining national attention and also focusing on ways that the arts can help build the creative economy and be a catalyst for community revitalization.  We’re sure it will also prompt some provocative conversations: What is the return on investment on public art? What role does public art play in a city? Can public art help transform a community? How important is the aesthetic of place?

We’re certain to hear from all sides. Public art has a way of bringing out opinions. But, then again, that is the kind of dialogue that art is supposed to prompt.

One thing is certain:  2015 will be the “Year of Public Art” on the Connective Corridor, as we complete our streetscape construction and activate it with public art.


Click the image to see the RFP (request for proposal)

From the very initial conception of the Connective Corridor, public art has been a vital, component of the master plan. Of the $46 million in external funds raised to build the Corridor, nearly $2 million have been allocated for the commissioning of public art.

To date, nearly $1 million has funded a variety of public art initiatives. Major installations included the Urban Video Project at Everson Plaza, the first Syracuse Public Artist in Residence Program, special projects with the 40 Below Public Arts Task Force, installations by regional artists, and work by Syracuse University School of Design students. Of that first million, $200,000 is earmarked for the redevelopment of the former Perseverance Park as a new public space by the City of Syracuse Urban Renewal Agency, working with the Syracuse Public Art Commission.

WATCH: Perseverance Park

The balance of the Connective Corridor’s public art funds will be expended over the next year to complete the streetscape. Four solicitations are currently underway:

  • “Illuminations” – a $650,000 national call for public art to activate the streetscape.
  • “Corridor of Light” – a $300,000 national call for lighting projects along the Corridor.
  • “Sign Here: Syracuse” – a $150,000 national call to select hand-painted artisan sign makers who can paint at mural scale, a joint project with the Near Westside Initiative.
  • “Warehouse Mural” – a $30,000 call for design students to create two murals to adorn SU’s Nancy Cantor Warehouse in Armory Square.

The Connective Corridor’s $650,000 call is open to national, regional and local public artists who work in all mediums.

Those interested in applying to the call should visit our website for more information. The deadline for submitting qualifications is March 1, 2015, and all final artwork will be installed by June 2016.

Forman Park  (Photo: Connective Corridor)

Forman Park
(Photo: Connective Corridor)

We are now midway through the application submission period and have been receiving a lot of attention, both from arts organization and artists. As of February 10, we have already received applications from more than 30 prominent artists from around the United States and the world. Many of these are distinguished public artists with impressive portfolios, and it is encouraging to have such high caliber responses so early in the solicitation period. It says that Syracuse is a place where good artists are competing to be seen.

We’re also looking forward to responses from the New York State and regional artist community, and have partnered with our friends at CNYArts to help get the word out.

The attention the call is getting makes us extremely excited for the potential artwork that will be added to Syracuse’s landscape. Not only do we want to share this excitement with you, we want to engage you in the project. We want to keep you updated on the process and progress. We want to hear what type of public art you want to see in Syracuse. And returning to the opening questions, we want to catalyze conversations around the impact of public art in urban spaces.

Our friends at the Syracuse New Times have been very kind to partner with us on this effort.

Over the course of the project we will bring you updates and discussions through a weekly blog posted every Friday and written by members of the call’s steering committee.

The committee is made up of members representing different organizations working with the Connective Corridor including: Syracuse University College of Visual and Performing Arts, City of Syracuse, Syracuse Public Art Commission, Onondaga County, CNY Arts, and the Downtown Committee of Syracuse.

This week we want to hear about the kind of public art you’d like to see along the Connective Corridor. Post comments, or send us your thoughts via e-mail at: [email protected].

To start the conversation, take a moment to fill out our public art survey below:

Follow us next week for more information on the jury and selection process, as well as more discussion on the role of public art in the community.

Quinton Fletchall is the public art project coordinator for the Connective Corridor. He is also is a part-time VPA instructor, a current graduate student in the CRS program (G’15) and a graduate of VPA’s industrial and interaction design program (’13).

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