Connective Corridor, VPA Partner on $650,000 Call for Public Art: Community Meeting Set May 5

May 1, 2015
A public outreach meeting to evaluate the 16 semifinalists will be held Tuesday, May 5, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Nancy Cantor Warehouse.

A public outreach meeting to evaluate the 16 semifinalists will be held Tuesday, May 5, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Nancy Cantor Warehouse.

Two hundred seventy-six artists from 17 countries have applied. Now, the jury will be selecting finalists for the Connective Corridor’s $650,000 call for public art—a partnership with the University’s Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development and the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

The project is one of the largest public art calls in the country, funded through a grant to the Connective Corridor project from Empire State Development.

Campus members are invited to the fourth floor conference space in the Nancy Cantor Warehouse on May 5 from 10 a.m. to noon for a public outreach meeting to evaluate the 16 semifinalists selected by the jury. The community is invited to provide input to the jurors as part of the final selection process. There will be an opportunity to learn more about the artists, evaluate their work and talk about where public art should be sited along the Connective Corridor. The jury will select the winners in late May.

“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,” notes Lucinda Havenhand, associate dean of VPA and a member of the local steering committee for the project. In the fall 2015 semester, artists selected as finalists will travel to Syracuse, where they will present and interact with 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 the student experience, adds Havenhand. “It provides an opportunity to interact directly with this group of artists from all over the world and the processes of this competition. 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.”

Marilyn Higgins, vice president for Community Engagement & Economic Development at Syracuse University, adds, “Now the Connective Corridor has attracted world-renowned, high-caliber artists from around the world to the streets of Syracuse. This is what the Corridor was meant to do. The College of Visual and Performing Arts, our office and the community are demonstrating incredible tenacity, creativity and teamwork in bringing this phase of the Corridor to fruition.”

The 16 semi-finalists are:

  • Osman Akan of Brooklyn ( works in stainless steel, dichroic glass, HID lights and white concrete. With an M.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts and a B.F.A. from Bilkent University’s Department of Art and Architecture in Ankara, Turkey, he’s been featured in the New York Times, Trendsetter Magazine and Sculpture Magazine.
  • Tristan Al-Haddad of Atlanta ( works in steel, aluminum and high-performance concrete, mirrored stainless and polycarbonate. An assistant professor in the School of Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology, he has a master’s of architecture degree from Georgia Tech and has also studied at the University of Paris and the Center for Building Technology and Urban Design in Genoa, Italy. He has been recognized in the New York Times, Metropolis, and has been a Fulbright Scholar in Chile.
  • Volkan Alkanoglu of Atlanta ( works in anodized aluminum, high density polyethylene, timber and steel. With a master’s of architecture degree from University College, London, and a diploma of architecture from Peter Behrens School in Dusseldorf, he is also a U.S. GBC LEED-accredited professional. He has worked at firms in London and New York City, and created award-winning projects for the National Library in Prague and the Venice Architecture Biennial, among other cities around the world.
  • Konstantin Dimopoulos of Melbourne, Australia ( works in high performance composites and reinforced concrete. A native of Egypt raised in New Zealand, he has degrees from Victoria University of Wellington and the Chelsea School of Art, London. He has created many commissioned sculptures for both private and public collections in Edmonton, San Diego, Seattle, Denver, Boston, Abu Dhabi and across Australia.
  • Sharon Exley, Chicago ( works in lighting and projections, as well as interactive public art. She and her partner Peter Exley are known for artful collaboration, creativity and a passion for play. The Exleys propose to partner with Dear Productions, an architectural lighting design firm that produces large-scale public space installations, including projects in Millennium Park in Chicago.
  • Marc Fornes of Brooklyn ( works in painted aluminum. A TED Fellow, he has a master’s of architecture and urbanism degree from the Design Research Lab of the Architectural Association in London, after previously studying in France and Sweden. His work includes large-scale, highly organic structures situated between the field of art and architecture.
  • DeWitt Godfrey of Earlville, N.Y. ( works in corten steel and bolts. An accomplished public artist who has completed large-scale commissions for museums and universities, he has an M.F.A. from the School of Sculpture, Edinburgh College of Art, and B.A. in art from Yale. He is interested in the role art can play in community, helping re-experience the familiar in the urban environment.
  • Blessing Hancock of Tucson ( works in stainless steel, acrylic, LED lighting and touch-sensitive electronics. Many of her installations enliven public spaces integrated within public transit systems—rail and light rail lines, pedestrian bridges, municipal parking garages, boulevards, bike paths and underpasses.
  • Wesley Heiss and Marek Walczak of Allentown, Pa., ( work in steel, camera recognition software, LED strips, reflective materials, screens, electronics and optics. With degrees from the School of Architecture, London, and Cooper Union School of Architecture, their work has been shown in Sweden, Korea, Beijing, Copenhagen, London, Austria and at Whitney Museum of American Art and MOMA, New York.
  • J. Krivanek of Chicago and Joel Breaux of Loreauville, La., ( work in steel, aluminum, fiberglass and motion-activated lighting. As public artists and designers, Krivanek+Breaux works have been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and many urban cultural affairs offices in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago and Seattle.
  • Jen Lewin of Boulder, Colo., ( works in custom cast plastic, aluminum, vintage Edison bulbs, LEDs and circuitry. An internationally renowned light and interactive sculptor, Lewin fabricates large-scale interactive sculptures that combine light, sound and motion to encourage community interaction. Her work has been featured in National Geographic, the Smithsonian, Wired, the New York Times and BBC news.
  • Elena Manferdini of Venice, Calif., ( works in CNC wood and laser cut styrene, as well as powder-coated aluminum and steel cables. A native of Bologna, Italy, she explores the relationship between nature, technology and audience in public settings, based on playfulness, optical effect and perception. Her works have been installed at the Art Institute of Chicago, Istanbul Biennial, Los Angeles Municipal Gallery and many other places.
  • Erwin Redl of Bowling Green, Ohio, ( works with suspended light panels integrated with animated RGB-LEDs, and computer-controlled light installations. A native of Austria, he has been a guest artist in residence in the Czech Republic and contemporary arts centers in the U.S. Among his recent installations are the Central Subway Union Square/Market Street Station in San Francisco, Interstate 77 Underpass project in Charlotte, N.C., Pacific Design Center and the Austrian Pavilion at the World Expo in Zaragoza, Spain.
  • Vicki Scuri of Lake Forest, Wash., ( works in light, steel, concrete, stone and native plants. She has won numerous engineering and design awards for multimodal projects across the U.S. that include pedestrian links and trails, transit shelters, medians, streetscapes, gateway bridges and infrastructure walls. She has developed public art master plans for communities that promote economic development through the arts, and has won CODAworx Top 100 projects for her work.
  • Sam Van Aken of Syracuse ( works with varied media but is best known for his iconic “Tree of 40 Fruit,” which was featured in media around the world, including, Time Magazine, World News, NPR Weekend Edition, Guardian UK, Huffington Post, Good Morning America, Epicurious, and Food and Wine. He is widely published and has been the recipient of numerous national residences and awards. He is currently working on commissions for the San Jose Children’s Discovery Museum; County of London, UK; City of Dubai; City of Singapore; and Parallax Partners, New Hampshire.
  • Christopher Weed of Colorado Springs, Colo., ( works in powder-coated steel and stainless steel tubing, cables and rods. A native of Philadelphia, he is included in collections in Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin, New York, San Francisco, LA, Miami, Seattle and across Colorado. His most recent work connects a corridor in Colorado that is the largest thoroughfare in the country.

Jury members provide a global perspective on public art, as well as familiarity with Syracuse. They include:

  • Stephanie James, founding director of Syracuse University’s School of Art in VPA.
  • Maarten Jacobs, executive director, Near Westside Initiative, Syracuse.
  • Elizabeth Dunbar, executive director, Everson Museum.
  • Mervyn Rothstein, distinguished arts journalist; retired writer and editor at the New York Times.
  • Emily Stokes-Rees, faculty member in Syracuse University’s graduate program in museum studies.
  • Carol Coletta, VP/Community and National Initiatives, Knight Foundation.
  • Anne Cofer, local arts educator/public artist, former recipient of the best-of-show award at the Everson Biennial.
  • Melanie Littlejohn, community leader and regional executive, National Grid, Syracuse.
  • Willy Wong, creative director, WW and former chief creative officer, NYC & Co.
  • Charlotte Cohen, fine arts officer, Urban Development Manager, U.S. General Services.

A local steering committee includes: Havenhand; Quinton Fletchall, Connective Corridor Project Coordinator/Public Art Manager; Linda Dickerson Hartsock, director, Connective Corridor, Syracuse University Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development; Kate Auwaerter, preservation planner/Syracuse Public Art Coordinator, Syracuse-Onondaga County Planning Agency; Owen Kerney, assistant director for city planning, Syracuse-Onondaga County Planning Agency; Adria Finch, economic eevelopment specialist , Downtown Committee of Syracuse; Stephen Butler, executive director, CNY Arts; and Daniel Franklin Ward, curator, Erie Canal Museum and chair of the Syracuse Public Art Commission.