CRAVE Arts Immersion Festival to Transform Syracuse Sept. 20-21

September 4, 2013

The Connective Corridor will become an interactive stage for CRAVE, an innovative arts festival designed to immerse Syracuse in a wide variety of visual and performing arts Sept. 20-21.

Sora Sol of CirqOvation performs an aerial act. (Photo by Rose Marincil)

Sora Sol of CirqOvation performs an aerial act. (Photo by Rose Marincil)

The two-day festival brings together collaborators to produce events as diverse as a Zombie “Thriller-style” flash mob dance; Café Club Surreal, an Avant-Garde after-hours circus and bistro orchestrated by SU Arts Engage; performance art on Connective Corridor buses; and a multi-media GLOW project by the 40 Below Public Arts Taskforce; along with performances, exhibitions and “pop-up events” developed by arts organizations staged across Syracuse’s Connective Corridor.

Among the regional arts organizations presenting special events at CRAVE in addition to their regular fall programming are Film in Syracuse, Jazz Central, Museum of Science and Technology (MOST), Redhouse, Paul Robeson Performing Arts Co., Society for New Music, Symphoria, Syracuse City Ballet, Syracuse Opera, Syracuse Stage and the YMCA Arts Branch.

Among the highlights:

  • ArtRage Gallery will host a combat paper journal making workshop.
  • MOST will present “Dancing Light Theater: Math in Motion,” an interactive installation by local artist Lorne Covington.
  • The Connective Corridor will present #DearSyracuseWith Love (#DSWL), a multimedia crowdsourced public art project featuring pop-up post offices that day to compose love notes to Syracuse along the Corridor.
  • The Paul Robeson Performing Arts Company will produce a “Moth Radio Jam” in partnership with the Roji Tea Lounge, as well as “Today,” an audience-devised place in Forman Park.
  • Wacheva Drum and Dance Circles will lead interactive events in Forman Park.
  • Syracuse Stage’s Singing Sidewalk will feature an interactive improv performance, composed by Emmett Van Slyke, with live musicians and audience participation.
  • The Society for New Music will produce “A Story Within a Story,” produced by Greg Wanamaker in collaboration with Carrie Mae Weems.
  • The Redhouse will host a loading dock concert featuring actors from the upcoming production of “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson” along with Rock Camp students showcasing original work.
  • Symphoria will present “Strolling Strings,” and Syracuse Opera will present “Popup Arias” in surprise appearances in downtown venues and restaurants.

A special feature will be a Saturday, Sept. 21, zombie event, encouraging locals and visitors to become one of the walking dead, and perform in character during CRAVE. Aspiring zombies wishing to learn to dance are invited to assemble with acclaimed choreographer Shannon Tompkins for Thriller Dance Lessons at the Redhouse from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. All participants should wear disposable clothes (the better the costume, the better the street show), then walk into one of the make-up and costume stations from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at La Dolce Vita, XL Projects or the Redhouse, and be professionally transformed by a team of effects/make-up experts from SRS Cinema. Then they can head out to create a “Thriller” flashmob at 4 p.m. at City Hall Commons (at the State Tower Building). Afterward, zombies are encouraged to dine out downtown, order zombies (the drink), and ride the free Corridor buses. The zombie immersion activities will be filmed.

Composer and turntable artist DJ Spooky: That Subliminal Kid (aka Paul D. Miller), artist-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will lead a multimedia “Happening,” joined by various local artists on Saturday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m. in Goldstein Auditorium of SU’s Schine Student Center. Tickets—all general admission and priced at $22—are on sale at the Schine Box Office. DJ Spooky will also give a free public lecture on digital functionality and its useful relationship to presenting art on Friday, Sept. 20, at 2:30 p.m. in the auditorium of SU’s Life Sciences Complex; the lecture is part of the 2013 Syracuse Symposium; directions and parking information are available at

Each night’s festivities will conclude with Cafe Arts Surreal, produced by SU Arts Engage, Friday and Saturday from 10 p.m. to midnight. The event, planned for the AXA Towers terrace, will feature Surreal, Grotesque, Avant-garde, Absurdist, Dadaist, Futurist and Agit-Prop interactive performances by CirqOvation and The Building Company. The event will take place in an outdoor coffee café bistro setting under the stars with jugglers, aerialists, clowns and the unexpected in a “cirque du noir” environment. Learn more at

Along with the public performances, CRAVE will create a platform for a statewide dialogue about how the arts and cultural activity can stimulate local economies and sustain neighborhoods. A “Creators’ Conclave” as part of CRAVE will demonstrate how the arts can revitalize communities by creating new benchmarks for content relevancy; creating innovative new performance models; and developing audience engagement strategies that turn fans into subscribers and subscribers into donors. The conclave will be led by Sam Read, creator of Seattle’s “Arts Crush” Festival and constituent relations officer at the University of Washington School of Drama. More information on the conclave, including how to register, can be found at

“CRAVE will establish Syracuse as a model for events that immerse and engage people in the creative experience. We are bringing together a dizzying array of interactive opportunities in all genres and disciplines that are open, engaging and inviting,” says CNY Jazz Executive Director Larry Luttinger, the creator of CRAVE. “New arts audiences demand engagement and empowerment. They want to become a part of the creative experience as it is happening, and they want to engage in the arts via hand-held devices that enable them to experience and create art at will. This is CRAVE.”

The CRAVE festival reinforces the goal of the Connective Corridor—to tap into Syracuse’s creative energy to connect people, businesses and educational and cultural institutions; catalyze new economic activity; and spark energy that will help position the city as a vibrant place where young talent and creative industries can take hold and flourish. “CRAVE is a unique way to activate the infrastructure of the Corridor as a connected cultural district, and it amplifies the message that Syracuse is really creating a new model for creative placemaking,” says Linda Dickerson Hartsock, who directs the Connective Corridor for SU’s Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development. “We are pleased to work with university and community partners to bring this very innovative and entrepreneurial enterprise to life.”

“At SU Arts Engage we are committed to presenting great artists in collaborative works on campus and in and around our community,” says Syracuse University Performing Arts Presenter Carole Brzozowski. “This partnership brings everything that we believe in into full and spectacular view—real community engagement with the highest-quality performing artists. That we are doing this simultaneously with dozens of other Syracuse artists and presenters is exciting and inspiring. Syracuse has the talent, and this is the time to celebrate that from the inside out.”

“CRAVE will continue the organic progression of the arts scene in Syracuse,” says David Holder, president of the Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The events of the weekend will provide our residents and visitors an immersive environment of expression that will redefine their perceptions of the area.”

CRAVE—Cultivating Resources in the Arts for Value in Our Economy—was funded through a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), administered by the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC). CRAVE is organized and presented by the Central New York Jazz Arts Foundation (CNY Jazz), in conjunction with the Connective Corridor, a program of Syracuse University’s Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development, SU’s Arts Engage, the Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau and IDEAS (Collaborative of the Gifford Foundation, Allyn Foundation, Central New York Community Foundation, Dorothy and Marshall M. Reisman Foundation, John Ben Snow Foundation and the Trust for Cultural Resources).

More information about CRAVE—including conclave registration, lodging, parking, a detailed schedule and artist bios—is available at