This month Syracuse celebrates how the arts make communities more dynamic. Arts in April by Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, partnering with the Connective Corridor, features events across campus and the community that showcase Syracuse as a place where the arts are putting us on the cultural map.
It turns out that “what we talk about when we talk about art” has just as much to do with community. This week’s blogpost with our partner, the Syracuse New Times, features responses from readers as well as a few comments from artists from around the world who applied to the call. And creative placemaking is at the heart of those comments.
We think you’ll see that Syracuse is a place where art is becoming central to our brand.
We invite you to continue the conversation. During the month of April, the jury is narrowing their selections from 276 applicants to 15 semi-finalists for the Connective Corridor’s call for public art, a collaboration with SU – VPA. We invite you to a public outreach session, May 5 from 10 a.m. to noon at the SU Warehouse, fourth floor conference suite, so see works examples by artists being considered by the jury. This is your chance to provide input. It will be an interesting conversation about how we use this project to both commission public art, and build identity for Syracuse as a place where the arts play a leading role in re-imaging Syracuse’s future.
What would you like the jury to consider as they evaluate artists?
• “Practically speaking, commitment to a design that will be easy and inexpensive to maintain. Ideally speaking, I hope the design will appeal to as many people as possible – whether they are driving, biking, walking, resting, or otherwise moving within the Connective Corridor. I love being surprised by public art, and I hope that whatever is chosen is maybe something unexpected and joyful for Syracuse.”
• “How the awardees build upon current relationships and successes in the community. Acute awareness, appreciation, familiarity, and dedication to Syracuse.”
• “Quality, expressiveness, color, and passion of their art work.”
• “How will this bring beauty and recognition to not only Syracuse but to the arts and artists.”
What attracts you to a work of public art?
• Public art allows for a serendipitous interaction between the public and the art. Because it is a part of the environment of the city it affects the populace subtly and over time. It creates a non- verbal dialogue with all those who encounter it.
• Sense of place, sense of pride for the community.
• When it complements the area around it or speaks specifically to the city.
• Public art is a symbolic statement of the community and those who create it
• How it communicates a community’s story
• Something that stands out. Something that can be played on or played with. Something unique.
• When it fits in with its location and community, and when its existence invites you to spend more time in that space, whether you want to come back because the art itself changes with time or precisely because it doesn’t change at all but is an iconic and familiar anchor.
• Something unexpected. Art that is unique enough to capture my attention and not fade into the background after seeing it many times. I am also attracted to public art that serves a function and defines a space as something open to the entire community.
• Color and inspiring quotes, visually stimulating, detail, meaning.
• Never thought much of it until I went to Chicago. High caliber art can make a difference!
• It makes the city look nicer. More Attractive.
What advice would you give artists working in Syracuse?
• “It’s winter here a lot of the time, so my advice is to think big and try to imbue the Corridor with some year-round positive energy.”
• “Continue to build a collaborative community where artists are engaged and supported.”
• “Connect. Plug in. Promote.”
On a scale of 1 -5, how important is it for a community to have public art?
• Average answer: 4.89
What would you like to see as the outcome of this public art call?
• Thoughtful art that brings something new to the city and makes people want to use the Connective Corridor and expand the principles applied there to other local arteries.
• To encourage young artists to keep working on their talent and not give it up.
We also asked artists from around the world who submitted to this call for public art a question. Here are just a few answers that give a sense of what people think of Syracuse and this project.
Why Syracuse? What is it about Syracuse that intrigues you about doing art here?
• “What intrigues me about this RFQ are the values embedded in the Connective Corridor itself – community, place, sustainability. The Connective Corridor provides a fantastic opportunity to weave one work of art into a larger whole, to create a piece that engages individuals and creates community.” – artist, New York, NY
• “I am interested in a series of interconnected themed sculptures along the Connective Corridor in rapidly evolving post-industrial Syracuse. The streetscape incorporates meeting spaces, parks, churches and museums with rich architectural facades. The dynamic relationship between these distinctive spaces is achieved through the artful use of innovative lighting design projects. All told, the Corridor, with its iconic architecture and urban spaces, offers many inviting sites for public sculpture.” – artist, Long Island City, NY
• “I see a complete and compelling interactive project to your community project, interacting with pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists in the sites along the Connective Corridor. I am enthusiastic about the concept of a project that aims to illuminate and revitalize a region.” – artist, Spokane, WA
• “The City of Syracuse and the mission of the Connective Corridor are of particular interest to our studio. Syracuse itself has a rich and dynamic history, from its beginnings as a major salt supplier and manufacturing town, to the current day as it blossoms into an innovative, sustainable and revitalized community both on campus and in the city center.” – artist, Brooklyn, NY
• “We see the Connective Corridor as an iconic, sustainable, and inspiring project which creates a sense of place and identity for the area and community. We gain inspiration from a project informed by cultural, technological and social dimensions and the belief that a public design project in its contemporary manifestation can create meaningful experiences for a large and diverse audience.” – artist team, Atlanta, GA
• “The Connective Corridor represents an extraordinary opportunity to create profound works of art that can operate in so many different modes and that can enrich the space and experience of both the citizens of, and visitors to Syracuse and Syracuse University. The project is a complementary extension of the urban fabric itself, a type of conceptual threshold between urbanism and architecture.” – another artist, Atlanta, GA
• “Syracuse University has its very own Glidden Paint # — an immensely hot shade of orange. We love that. It brings to light the local story that it was hard to be a passionate fan when adorned in pea green and pink. A single dose of hot orange, like a shot of Vitamin C, was the cure. Isn’t the Connective Corridor that same Syracuse story, systemic of cladding and connecting the city in all things passionate – art, beauty, light and culture?” — artist, Chicago, IL
• “The Connective Corridor creates a particularly art friendly zone in which any work of art is enhanced by its context within an area that embraces public art. The streetscape provides a dynamic setting for artwork. The qualities of Syracuse being a compact and walkable city with a vital and active downtown and a major university in close proximity suggest this is an environment that should be welcoming and engaging for artwork.” — artist, Albuquerque, NM
• “I like this project’s dialogue about image, light, interaction with architecture and sense of place. Taking part in the Connective Corridor illumination program would be participating in a great long-term public art initiative and contributing to an innovative plan of creative placemaking. I am strongly stimulated by the bold architecture of Syracuse.” – artist, Paris, France
• “The Connective Corridor provides an exciting opportunity to explore the positive influence of public art as a means to enrich the sense of identity and community for the City and create a long-lasting asset in line with the project’s vision and goals.” — another artist, Brooklyn, NY
• “In Syracuse, we have at its heart, a beautiful city, full of history, world class architecture, generations of networks of people and cultures, all of which made and left a mark on the physical city and its people. The Connective Corridor, for me, is the opportunity to reignite civic pride in this history, encourage new investment and most importantly, connect people back to their great city.” — artist, United Kingdom
We are excited about this flow of ideas between the local and the global, and look forward to ways in which we can continue to explore the connection between the university, the city, the region and the world. All of this contributes to an environment where people are engaged in building the future together. And that makes for an exciting city to experience. As one artist put it, Syracuse is in a very unique place to “create a context and community that can achieve national and international recognition, conveying a local sense of place but also influencing a wider and global public.”
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).