A Few Highlights From 2017

Remember back when it was December 31, 2016?  When January 1, 2017 was just the beginning of another new year?  You may ask, where’d the time go?  Or, perhaps you reminisced about all the ups and downs of 2016.  But, here we are, the first week of another new year already behind us!  The Holidays are officially over and Winter is here with a frightful blast of cold and grey!  What better time than to sit and reflect on all the things that kept us warm and busy during 2017!

For the Syracuse Poster Project, 2017 was a particularly good year.  We saw several fruitful collaborations established, many ideas realized, and met some new friends along the way.

Fruitful Collaborations!  Coinciding with the Erie Canal Bicentennial, we joined statewide festivities by issuing a special Erie Canal themed poster for our 2017 Poster Series.  We commissioned Tong “Amy” Su, a graduate student in the Syracuse University Illustration Program, to illustrate a scene for our poets to respond to.  Su created a lively bird’s-eye view of canal commerce with the winning haiku coming from Ross Getman.

canal side commerce / briefcase, balloon, umbrella / echoes of past steps

2017Getman_Su

We then teamed up with the Erie Canal Museum to win a grant from Tomorrow’s Neighborhoods Today for an installation of our Erie Canal Poster at the Museum.  WSyracuse_Public_Art poster panel installation at Erie Canal Museum1.jpge reproduced Su’s historic Canal poster in triplicate—the original poster flanked by two enlargements—and installed these three panels on the exterior of the Museum’s storage building.  Syracuse_Public_Art_poster panel installation at Erie Canal Museum2

 

 

 

From former windows on the second story, the Canal posters overlook Erie Boulevard.

walls of erie museum
Erie Canal Museum

On the heels of this successful rendering, we found ourselves collaborating with the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, host of the World Canals Conference, to produce a commemorative poster for the Conference which took place in Syracuse this past September.  Tong “Amy” Su’s work for the Poster Series was so appealing, we asked her to develop another poster to promote the Conference.  The stunning result prompted the organizers to purchase 50 of her beautiful posters as gifts for their speakers at the Conference!

487_Erie_Canal_Poster_2
World Canals Conference Poster

 

 

 

Something New!  Thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones, we’ve become a video nation.  The Poster Project joined the flow this year with a series of splashy videos produced largely by enthusiastic volunteers and, in one instance, by professional videographers.

First up was our “Public Dollars for Public Art” video where we advocated the value of public art by making a whimsical case for allocating parking meter revenues to public art in Syracuse.  The piece has yet to shift any resources in that direction, but it did win us a $500 award in the Central New York Community Foundation’s “What Matters to Me” contest.  

Emmons_Jim_3_resize
Jim Emmons

We proudly passed these monies to the charity of our choice—CNY Arts—for its good work advancing arts and culture in Central New York.  Click here to read about Jim Emmons’ winning entry and video and click here to read about the other winners of the Foundation’s 2017 contest.

Our next series of video productions took flight thanks to a volunteer, Priya Narayanan, who briefly graced us with her filmmaking skills.  Priya studied information technology and taught herself filmmaking on the side.  She joined us just before the opening celebration for the 2017 Poster Series.  She dashed off a series of video portraits from the event, produced a video on our travelling exhibit at the Upstate Cancer Center, and, for her last work, whipped together a piece on Art on the Porches—click here to view her work at this annual event and here for videos from the 2017 Poster Event.  Over the summer, we had to say goodbye to Priya as she and her husband moved to Delaware.  We’ll miss working with her!

We’re tempted to call 2017 the year of Splash Poetry!  Our story is often one of circling back: we get excited about an idea, but can’t find the time or resources to pull it off.  It simmers on a back burner for a year or more, until finally we stir it again, add the right ingredients, and serve it up.  That’s how it was with our Splash Poetry Project.

Joe Murphy

Board member, Joe Murphy, was exploring civic poetry groups in other parts of the country when he discovered Mass Poetry doing something fun: stenciling poetry on sidewalks with special spray paint that only shows up when rained upon or splashed with water! This seemed tailor made for our haiku—and for rainy Syracuse Summers!  But, the idea had to mature for a year or so until the time was right to bring it to term.

Finally last Spring, along with an uplifting, out-of-the blue, contribution from the Central New York Community Foundation, Joe and fellow board member, Jason Evans, kick-started the conception and our Splash Poetry Project was born!  Together, they designed stencils, had them laser cut, and then stenciled site-specific haiku at 10 downtown locations.  (Click here to see where the splash haiku were initially placed.)

Rain_Poetry Joe Murphy and Jason Evans
Joe Murphy and Jason Evan

 

When the original poems washed away, we stenciled them again.  But, this time, we hired a pair of professional videographers, Michael Barletta and Courtney Rile, of Daylight Blue Media, to document our appropriately named, Splash Poetry Project.  They did an excellent job, both of filming as Joe and Jason stenciled poems on downtown sidewalks, and of editing the footage into a vivid portrait of civic art in action!   This was our first experience with the power of professional filmmaking, and we’re delighted to have joined forces with Mike and Courtney.  Click here to view this wonderful video!  Keep an eye out for more Splash Poetry in the warmer months of 2018.

New Friends!  We were selected by the Downtown Committee of Syracuse to participate in the first installment of its Art in the Windows Project.  Funded by the Central New Community Foundation, the project has brightened a dozen downtown shopfronts and windows with art installations.  We installed 10 posters from our archives in the poster boxes outside the Post Office on Salina Street.

Over the summer, we worked with executive director of CNY Jazz, Larry Luttinger, to install large-format jazz-themed posters in the newly renovated lobby of Jazz Central The display consists of two posters on panels, with a third panel in storage for periodic change outs.  The Poster featured here is from our 2010 Series.  The Jazz-themed haiku was written by Elisabeth Anderson and the poster illustrated by Eric Johanni an adjunct faculty member of the Art Department at Phoenix College2010Anderson_Johanni

Carbonated jazz,
sloe gin soul with open mic,
two drink minimum.

Lastly, we joined Friends of Onondaga Central Library to sell framed posters from the Rosamond Gifford Lecture Series through our online store.  The posters depict, and are autographed by, featured writers from this prodigious series. 

488_Sedaris-David
David Sedaris Poster

Sales benefit both the Onondaga County Library System and Syracuse Poster Project.  As we diversify our engagement with civic art, we view these literary posters as belonging to that realm. You’ll also see that we worked with the Central Library to install a library-themed poster, like the one below, next to the third floor elevator.  The Poster featured here is from our 2003 Series and was written by Janine DeBaise and illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Christopher Savido, whose portrait of former President George Bush created quite a stir in 2004.  2003DeBaise_Savido

 

 

 

Rows and rows of books
Lure me into their pages
I leave with arms full

New Board Members, Volunteers and Interns!  After a period of attrition—veteran board members retiring from the board—2017 was a year for board growth.  We’re now enjoying the energy and skills of several newcomers, including: Anna Putintseva, a lawyer with Bousquet Holstein; Lindsay Speicher, a community liaison at Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield; Adam Rozum, an independent designer and owner of Polonaise European Market; Jason Evans, an architect at Ashley McGraw; Gwen Morgan, a media specialist at LeMoyne College; and Chris Montgomery, a jobs specialist at SUNY Educational Opportunity Center.

We were also fortunate to have several new volunteers join us, including: Naomi Coufal, John Kulak and Brittney Cason.  And, of course, we’d be lost without our long-standing volunteers, sponsors and partners as well as our Interns who work with us for a short period of time, but produce phenomenal work.  (Click here to see a list of our interns from over the past few years.)

For example, before we said our goodbyes to our hard-working Spring semester intern, Naomi Masingale, she was the subject of a photo documentary by photographer, Nancy Kasberg, who came to us from the Military Journalism Program at SU’s Newhouse School of Public Communication

Masingale_Naomi_10
Naomi Masingale

This wonderful narrative slideshow, complete with Naomi’s voice over, walks you through her internship experience with us.  (Click here to view this video!)  Congratulations to Naomi who graduated this past year with a Masters in Arts Administration from LeMoyne College!                                                                                                                   

In addition, our student interns were paramount to tweaking our website this year!  For a small organization, we have a robust website.  With help from web development interns, we added significant features to our growing presence on the web. Most notably, we re-established an interactive map that shows all locations that have given rise to posters over the years, with links to corresponding posters, artists, and poets–since our founding in 2001, more than 500 poets have submitted haiku!  The map first existed on a Google platform, until Google discontinued the service.  It was then in hiatus for a couple of years until we took on an intern, Xi Chen, capable of investigating a new platform. Thanks to Xi and her successor, Yunhui Zhu, we now share our interactive map via Mapbox.  You can explore a map that shows where poets come from, which municipalities or neighborhoods are most poetic, and where the hotspots of poetic energy come from!  To see the map, visit our Participate page and scroll down.  Find your haiku poster here!

The website now has an improved Photo Gallery Section where visitors can quickly peruse both the Poster Series archived by year (click here to view) and/or photos from the annual unveiling events (click here to see these).   And, the Shop section of our website took on two new categories: one for literary posters promoting the Rosamond-Gifford Lecture Series as mentioned above; another for graphic work by Syracuse artists working in veins similar to ours.  

jason evans
Jason Evans

Thus you’ll find work by local designers Tommy Lincoln, Jason Evans and Cayetano Valenzuela, with more to come in 2018.  Click here to shop for your favorite posters!

More on Information Technology!  What end-of-year summary would be complete without a report from the IT Department?  Frankly, we wish we had an IT department!  It would be incredibly helpful.  Nevertheless, in our measured way, we made IT strides in 2017.  With a grant from the Central New York Community Foundation, we bought three high-performance laptops, installed new accounting and graphics software, and subscribed to the cloud computing services of Office 365.  All of which enables us to take on more interns and volunteers, and to work with them efficiently.

Funding!  We remain a small nonprofit organization supported by product sales, corporate sponsorship, and charitable grants—no dedicated year-to-year funding.  As challenging as it is to raise funds, we experienced bright spots in 2017.  We brought on three new corporate sponsors–TCGPlayer, Bousquet Holstein and Drive Research— and saw a longstanding sponsor, Byrne Dairy, significantly boost its sponsorship.

In the New Year!  With our new computer resources, we’re well positioned to begin work with a growing roster of interns and volunteers.  These new hands should help us produce the 2018 Poster Series and move on to tasks that sometimes exceed our resources: applying for grants, refining our website, developing new products and projects.

In fact, we’re already underway with a specially commissioned poster from Nicora Gangi for our 2018 series on the theme of Syracuse as a place of welcome for all people and cultures.  Jean Fahey’s fine haiku was selected to match this poster which will be unveiled in April.

A beacon of hope2018 gangi
City of welcoming arms
A place to call home

We will further this theme by reviving our Cards for New Americans Project. We initiated the cards project several years ago with partial funding.  The idea is to issue packs of notecards as welcome gifts for new Americans at their naturalization ceremonies.  In 2018, we’ll resume fundraising and see the project to completion.

Incidentally, our featured Poster is from the 2010 Series; the haiku written by Wendy Moleski and poster illustrated by Gina Kim:

2010_Moleski_Kim

 

The last dish is fired
Kiln’s cooled, now the auction starts
Good—bye my old friend

 

 

 

Thank You!  As you see by these few highlights,  2017 was a very productive year for us.  We could not have done this without the loyal support of our friends, board members, volunteers, interns and our families.  Thank you for your continued support of the Syracuse Poster Project!  

Happy New Year to you!

Jim Emmons with Rosalyn M. Carroll for the Syracuse Poster Project

 

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Haiku for the Holiday Season!

The Holidays! Oh, the excited anticipation of them all! The planning and the decorating; the ever-changing shopping lists–two miles long; the food and the get-togethers with all that wine! And, then there’s the writing out of Christmas cards and the wrapping of presents; the lighting of candles and the Yuletide tree; the sounds of music in the air, at the school concert and in stained-glassed churches everywhere!

Phew! So, between the stress and the laughter, we’d like to offer you these few haiku from our archives to brighten your celebration of this season of light and love, hope and peace!

The holidays are Cookie Exchanges and building Gingerbread Houses with the kids:

Gingerbread delights
The Erie Canal is trimmed
With giggles and smiles!

Jane Verostek (Syracuse 2012)

It’s the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree:

Horse-drawn sleigh ride to
Cut a Christmas tree just right–
We build traditions!

Rosalyn M. Carroll (Manlius 2006)

Or, for the perfect gift:

Mom clutches my hand
We rush through winding traffic
Holiday shopping

Mary Demetrick (East Syracuse 2004)

The holidays are Mistletoe and Holly and beautiful Poinsettias:

Crimson-tipped arrows
Pointing North, East, South and West
Christmas arsenal

Michelle Miles (Amman, Jordan 2016)

Or, they’re a night time drive through darkened snowy streets for a visual treat; where Christmas and candle lights brighten neighborhood windows and lampposts, doorways and rooftops:

Levitating lights
Vivid vista sparkling home
Where the heart is full

Ronnie Bell (Syracuse 2010)

And, for many, the holidays are not complete without going downtown for the ceremonious “lighting of the tree”:

Huge pine in the Square
Anticipates the signal,
Then lights up Winter

Marilyn Shelton (Dunmore 2008)

Our featured Poster Illustrates just such a scene. The haiku poster is from our 2009 Series. The cheerful haiku was written by Nancy Liccione (Clay 2003) and brightly illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration Student, Yealim Kong, now a Home Textile & Graphic Designer based in New York City.

Nighttime in the Square / Tree lighting and carols sung / Skaters mingle there

2009 Liccione_Kong

However you spend these last few days of 2017, we wish you a warm and merry Holiday Season!

Ripped fingertip gloves
Cold keys and warm melodies
Fill dark streets with light

 Elizabeth Westfall (North Syracuse 2014)

Halloween Inspired Haiku

It’s Halloween! Pumpkins are carved, costumes are at the ready, stuffed candy bowls wait patiently for trick-or-treaters.

On cold, dark porch steps,
Jack O’Lanterns grin and wait.
Beware, you tricksters!
Rosalyn M. Carroll, (Manlius 2015)

With a harvest moon drifting lazily overhead, stormy skies and thick fog are the perfect backdrop for ghoulish sights on Halloween night.

October moon hangs
spectral light and shadows fall
luminous clouds fly
Karl Krohl, (Syracuse 2015)

Dry leaves rustle in the wind, owls who-hoot at midnight and ghosts roam the shadows of Syracuse.  Oh my!

On the old canal,
a ghost barge drifts soundlessly
a fallen leaf rides.
Michael Sickler, (Minoa 2012)

Lilac vapor trail
Landmark Theater ghost performs
one more curtain call
Sheila Forsyth, (Fayetteville 2011)

The ghosts of yester
sequestered in their oak grove
welcome each new dawn
Garrett Heater, (Syracuse 2015)

Our featured haiku poster is from our 2013 Series.  Poet, Robin Gross, and former Syracuse University Illustration Student, Dylan Allen, whose work was recently exhibited at Apostrophe’s Art Gallery in Syracuse, have created a hauntingly beautiful recipe for a spooky Halloween night!

Under Harvest Moon / Landmark Theatre Ghost Shrieks / Boo! Trick Or Treat Me
2013Gross_Allen
As you can see, Halloween conjures up a cauldron-full of images, feelings and memories, too.  We hope you have enjoyed these Halloween-inspired haiku from our archives!

Ghosts of trains, whispers
of smoke, standing at the old
station, long ago
Catherine Foster, (Soddy Daisy, TN 2013)

Grand Ballroom twilight
costumed masqueraders grin
tricks and treats within
Abigail Lent, (Baldwinsville 2017)

Happy Haunting!

A Haiku Nod to Sunflowers

As the end of Summer draws near, sturdy Sunflowers still stand shoulder high.  While their full-seeded heads seem to be nodding, Farewell, their brilliant shades of yellow add a unique dimension to the colorful arrival of Autumn.  

From our archives, we found some Sunflower-themed haiku to share with you–what better way to show our appreciation for this beautiful flower that bridges Summer into Autumn!

Brilliant sunflowers                                                                                                                                       cast against slate sky, red birds                                                                                                                       fly in for dinner                                                                                                                                                                          by Sheila Forsyth (Fayetteville 2008)

 Lofty sunflowers                                                                                                                                             arrayed in golden splendor                                                                                                                           heads above the rest                                                                                                                                                            by Sharon Rorer (Syracuse 2007)

Van Gogh Sunflowers                                                                                                                                      paint themselves across the fields                                                                                                                  Camillus, New York                                                                                                                                                           by Joan Cofrancesco (Camillus 2009)

From our 2010 Syracuse Poster Project Series, our featured haiku poster was written by Claire Bobrycki and illustrated by former Syracuse University student, Catherine LaPointe, now a children’s book illustrator and graphic designer–see more of her wonderful work here.

Blue Moon, Big Dipper / Sunflowers under porch lights / Peace on the South Side

2010Bobrycki_LaPointe

We conclude with three more gems:

Sunflowers drooping                                                                                                                                      looking for a warm embrace                                                                                                                        oh, where is the sun?                                                                                                                                                                   by Kelly Bargabos (Syracuse 2010)

Sunflower faces                                                                                                                                               a swoosh of yellow and black:                                                                                                                        goldfinch dinnertime                                                                                                                                                               by Ellen Barnes (Syracuse 2014)

A smile on your face                                                                                                                                         is brighter than sunflowers                                                                                                                         at the farmer’s stand                                                                                                                                                                  by Jungtae Lee (Syracuse 2006)

We hope you’ve enjoyed our brief tribute to the Sunflower! What do you see when you gaze upon a Sunflower?  

Inspired Haiku

We recently announced our call for haiku for the 2018 Syracuse Poster Project Series. The deadline for submissions is Friday, September 8! 

Stuck for an idea? Why not visit the newly redeveloped Morningside Cultural Trail?  In fact,  its official Grand Opening Event is Wednesday, September 6 at the Barry Park Field House.  Festivities begin at 5:30 pm.  Learn more about the opening event here and a brief history of the project here.  Celebrating Syracuse’s Eastside, with its 7-mile walking path, the Morningside Cultural Trail crosses through three notable neighborhoods (Map) and includes a Public Arts Pathway (Map).  For photos of the Trail, check out their Facebook page here.  With trails meandering through Oakwood Cemetery (Map), the Morningside Cultural Trail offers interesting reflections–just the kind you might need to write some haiku!  

There is much to learn about Oakwood Cemetery.  Its assortment of mausoleums and monuments have inspired several haiku from our haiku contributors.  From Peggy Liuzzi (Syracuse 2014) a fine sensory approach to haiku:

With each step, dry leaves / speak of memories.  Oakwood / whispers Autumn’s song

And, from Mark Shevalier (Henderson 2007), a warm reflection inspired by a walk through Oakwood’s hallowed grounds:

And there they all sleep / Beneath the earth and granite / Oakwood their fine bed

Visitors to Barry Park may find a tennis game going on or kids playing soccer–just like Meganne Oakleaf (Fayetteville 2010) did in her cheerful haiku:

Fall sees Barry Park / ablaze with colorful leaves; / soccer jerseys, too.

The Barry Park Pond may offer you some inspiration, too, as it did for Jessica Cuello (Syracuse, 2010):

At Barry Park Pond / black-webbed geese crowd two children. / Small hands tear soft bread.

Meadowbrook and Westcott, two of the neighborhoods the Morningside Cultural Trail crosses through, has inspired several haiku from our contributors–including this one from Jane Cassidy which, in turn, inspired this beautiful poster from our 2006 Series by former Syracuse University illustration student, Natalie Zuk :

Unexpectedly / a stone staircase in the woods— / very Narnian

2006 Cassady_Zuk

Walk the Morningside Cultural Trail and Get Inspired!

 

Got Haiku?

A call for haiku is now underway for the Syracuse Poster Project’s 17th annual series of haiku posters! In fact, you’re invited! Please consider participating in this community-wide event by submitting up to three (3) of your best haiku which reflect our fair city’s multi-cultural heart, the Central New York countryside or Syracuse at large!  

Nicora_Gangi_Poster 2018

In addition, we have commissioned Syracuse artist, Nicora Gangi, to create a poster giving you the unique opportunity–in essence, an Ekphrastic challenge–to write at least one (1) haiku inspired by her wonderful image!  That image being, fittingly enough, of our city as a place of welcome to all people and cultures.  Ms. Gangi will select the winning haiku.  To read a review of her superb work, click here.

Each haiku you submit before Friday, September 8 will be presented to a senior class of Syracuse University illustration students.  Ultimately, your haiku may be chosen to be illustrated by one of these students!  Of all the posters created, 15 of the best haiku posters will be selected for display in downtown Syracuse kiosks next April, 2018.

Need inspiration?  Not sure how to capture a moment?  Consider how these frequent contributors approach writing haiku–

Walk…along an Erie Canal pathway, where, as Rosalyn Carroll (Manlius 2007), writes:

Wildflowers sway bright / Dragonflies buzz and fish bite / Erie traffic hums

Watch…as Debra Alexis (Jamesville 2016) does:

Moonbeams hitch a ride / onto lazy waves, while the / leaves flutter and fall

Look…as Anton Ninno (Syracuse 2014) does:

Pond at Barry Park / tall reeds in quiet water / heron strikes–and eats!

Listen…as Paul Goat Allen (Camillus 2004) does:

Sidewalks spill laughter / Armory Square fellowship / downtown Summer night

Feel…as Barbara McCleary (Fulton 2009) does:

Walking by the lake / Icy winds that sear my soul. / My cheeks are burning!

Remember, any season, any place, any subject–write about your experiences in a haiku using three lines of 5, 7, 5 syllables, and submit your poems by September 8, 2017.  For further details, click here for this year’s brochure.  For additional entry materials, click here.  If you’re new to writing haiku, click here for general guidelines.  Find more good haiku by local poets in this poetry blog.  

Get Writing!

 

Cloudy Haiku

In just a few syllables, Haiku are a perfect way to capture a scene, a memory, or even a mood.  Regardless the season–or time of day–clouds can do pretty much the same thing. Mountainous thunderstorm clouds can be majestic.  Serene, wispy cirrus clouds can make a sunset heavenly.  In color and shape, or by how quickly they’re moving, clouds will let you know if you need to carry an umbrella or if you’re likely to rev up the snowblower–in which case, if they’re very low and grey, you might consider going back to bed!  But, on a bright Summer’s day, when clouds are drifting lazily, high in the sky, watching these seemingly magical shapeshifters is pure joy.

From our archives of contributed haiku, we’ve selected a cloud-themed few for your Summer reading pleasure.  Can you tell which season the poet is describing?  Have you ever experienced the same feelings as expressed in the haiku?  Do you remember a day the clouds were just like those characterized by the poet?

From Cynthia Perrine (Fabius 2015):

Sun breaks through the clouds / Mist rises from the water / Day begins anew

From Jay Cox (Pompey 2005):

Cumulus clouds float / in a deep-blue sky–downtown / petunias in bloom.

From Pamela Lynch (Oneida 2013):

Fronts collide to paint / phenomenal cloud skyscapes / Swirling overhead

From Michael Brigandi (Syracuse 2014):

Playing in the grass / Childhood days slipping away / Like clouds rolling by

From Nancy Preston (Syracuse 2013):

Clouds heaped like meringue / cumulus jubilation! / Summer sky party

From Maggie James (Syracuse 2010):

One, then two at once! / Colorful balloons drift east / Low clouds they vanish…

From Diane Lansing (Syracuse 2014):

Dragonfly’s kiss makes / once still pond pulsate rings of / fractured clouds and trees.

From our 2004 Syracuse Poster Project Series, a wonderful display of Summer.  The haiku was written by Jennifer Sanford and the poster illustrated by Cally Jones, former Syracuse University Illustration student.

Summer breezes lift / gull and dragon kites across / Onondaga Lake

2004 Sanford_Jones

Wishing you carefree Summer days where, as Rosalyn M. Carroll (Manlius 2017) writes:

Daydreaming on a / Cotton candy cloud–oh, the / Places I can see