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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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!

 

Haiku to Welcome Summer

At long last, it’s coming on Summer!  From our archive of contributed haiku, we’ve found a few to highlight the return of this sunny season.

Spring flowers have faded, making way for bright Summer blooms.  Everything’s comin’ up roses, too, as vividly described by Joan Loveridge-Sanbonmatsu (Syracuse), in her 2011 haiku:

 A burst of petals                                                                                                                                      flame red, melon, pale yellow                                                                                                             Summer rose gardens

After a long Winter and wet Spring, neighbors are slowly emerging from their homes, greeting each other like old friends.  Beth Miller (Auburn) skillfully creates such a scene in her 2015 haiku:

Warm friendly greetings                                                                                                                       Summer on South Geddes Street                                                                                                           Flowers lead to porches

Outdoors, there’s the sound of lawns being mowed and the comforting smell of fresh cut grass.  Green grass and Summer–there is nothing quite like it as Thomas Stock (Ft. Plain 2014) describes in his mirthful haiku:

Cool clover carpet                                                                                                                                   seduce my bare feet with dew                                                                                                               Summer night, you muse!

The arrival of Summer also means weekends are suddenly booked with music festivals, sporting activities, sun gazing and weddings!  Our featured poster from our 2004 Series notes this traditional season for wedding celebrations with a cleverly written haiku by Ralph Long, Jr. and a beautiful illustration by  Elizabeth Couturier, former Syracuse University Illustration student.

In a Rose Garden / at the top of Campus Hill / wedding dresses bloom

2004Long_Couturier

Of course, Summer’s arrival also means construction season is underway everywhere you turn. When artfully expressed in a haiku, such as this one by Dianne Apter (Syracuse 2015), delays don’t seem quite as dreadful:

Summer highway rite                                                                                                                             Orange cones stretched forever                                                                                                                   A sea of detours

How do you welcome Summer?  Write us a haiku in the Comments and we’ll publish it next time on our blog.

Happy Summer!

You’re Invited!

You’re invited to the 16th Annual Syracuse Poster Project unveiling event of our 2017 series!  Mark your calendar for Friday evening, April 14 from 6 – 8 p.m.  We’ll be celebrating in the Atrium at City Hall Commons, 201 East Washington Street, Syracuse.   

Atrium 2016 Unveiling

Need a reason to dress up? Come and meet the poets and artists of this year’s poster series! Along with friends, family and other supporters of public art, please enjoy with us a light reception of hors d’oeuvres, drink and music!

To add to the merriment, sit and listen as our featured poster poets read their haiku.  Unveiling, 2016, Tarry (84)

And, of course, our wonderful new posters will be displayed along the glass walls of the Atrium!  

Prints of the new posters, as well as other items from Syracuse Poster Project, will be on sale during the event.  (Click here to view our online Shop.)  Unveiling, 2016, Tarry (33)

Our congratulations again to the 16 poets and Syracuse University Illustration students (respectively) who are featured in our 2017 poster series: Rosalyn Carroll / Bobby Davison; Chen Chen / Carly Wright; Sheila Forsyth / Cannon David; Ross Getman / Tong “Amy” Su; Linda Griggs / Tatiana Diaz; Abigail Lent / Mack Muller; Peggy Liuzzi / Geani Sanabria; Tara Miner / Lara Hirschberg; Kiru Morrissette / Kelly O’Neill; William Padgett / Autumn Wilson; Nicholas Petrone / Marisa Rother; Tanya Raymond / Lara Hirschberg; Erin Stepowany / Laura Mead; Susan Stiles / Amber Roach; Robert Stone / Monica S. Rexach Ortiz; and Elizabeth Westfall / Gabriella Silverstein

These featured poets can thank a combination of skill and luck for rising to the top, given the large number of participants again this year.   A striking total of 125 poets submitted 260 fresh haiku.  We added these to 717 active haiku from past entries, then selected one haiku from each poet to pass along for consideration by the student artists.  Bottom line: as a group, Syracuse University artists had a total of 414 haiku to consider!

Unveiling, 2016, Card (7)

Our student artists created 24 posters, from which 16 were selected.  The selection committee consisted of Laurie Reed and Bethany Holbrook, of the Downtown Committee; Professors John Thompson and Marty Blake, of the Syracuse University Illustration Program; and Jason Evans and Jim Emmons, board members of the Syracuse Poster Project.

We hope you’ll be able to join us and we look forward to seeing you on Friday evening! But, if you should happen to miss the evening’s festivities,Kiosks_2016_82B Kiosks_32be sure to look for this year’s posters in the kiosks dotting downtown Syracuse. They’re expected to be on view by May 1.   

 

Haiku for a Slow Start to Spring

Pink clouds dot the sky                                                                                                                                                                            Black crows fly past crescent moon                                                                                                                                                       A change of weather

                                                                                     by Peter Allen (Syracuse 2013)


Whether or not you care much about the weather, it is one of the major topics of conversation anywhere, anytime, anyhow, no matter the day or the time of year.  It pretty much affects everything around us and everything we do.  We, at Syracuse Poster Project, would rightfully guess that we receive more haiku written about weather–like the fine poem above–than about any other subject!

Changes in the weather often signal a change in the season, too.  For instance, in Central New York today, while the calendar may say Spring, the weather these past few weeks has been mostly cold, dismally grey and, well…cold.  In fact, on St. Patrick’s Day–usually a fine day to celebrate the imminent arrival of Spring–there were snowbanks here that were as high as an elephant’s eye! The tulips and daffodils that had started to peek out from the cold March ground were quickly sent packing.  

Moving from March to April isn’t always easy or fast.  Thank goodness for Haiku to put this change of season into perspective!  Take, for example, this poignantly expressive haiku from frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Jay Cox (Pompey, 2001):

Treetops’ sprawling arms                                                                                                                                                                        tremble, holding pale gray sky–                                                                                                                                                           snow patches linger.

Or, consider the perspective found in this uplifting haiku from Anton Ninno (Syracuse, 2008):

Last snow of the year                                                                                                                                                                                crashes down, heavy and wet                                                                                                                                                                 young buds shake it off

From Craig Overbeck, (Fayetteville, 2015), a stirring haiku with an artistic glimpse of what awaits us this Spring:

To the south, rain falls.                                                                                                                                                                  Gray brushstrokes sweep from dark clouds                                                                                                                                        To paint the hills green.

We think you’ll agree, this warm and delightful haiku by Rachel Guido deVries (Cazenovia, 2001) enriches any conversation about the weather or change of season.  Her words create a feeling beautifully captured in this poster from our 2015 Series by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Lise Sukhu.  To see more of Lise’s artwork, click here.

Dog sleeps safe from rain, / nestled in blankets, my feet / warm up, beneath her

2015Guido_de_Vries_Sukhu

Over the past several months we’ve highlighted many fine haiku written by our contributors about the weather and the change of seasons in Central New York.  Our accompanying featured posters beautifully underscore and accentuate the fine work we receive.  We hope you’ve enjoyed reading these poems as well as the few highlighted here today.  

And, remember, as we move from snow to rain this season, keep this cheerful haiku, written by Michelle Miles (Amman, Jordan 2016), in mind:

March into April,                                                                                                                                                                              Shed the outer cloak, breathe and                                                                                                                                                         Take the umbrella….

Until again, stay warm, stay dry! Happy Spring!

A Haiku for Black History Month

What began in 1926 as the brainchild of Carter G. Woodson’s Negro History Week, Black History Month was decreed a national observance in 1976 by then President Gerald Ford to honor and celebrate the many accomplishments and contributions of Black Americans throughout our history.  It was not lost on its tireless proponents that Black History Month be celebrated in February – the month in which two of the most iconic figures in the history of slavery in our country were born: Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

Although he settled in Rochester in 1847, Frederick Douglass made several trips to Syracuse between 1840 and 1870.  In August of 1850, he lectured on the evils of slavery during a stop at Syracuse City Hall — he was on his way to nearby Cazenovia for the Fugitive Slave Law Convention which he helped organize.  More information about his travels through Syracuse, as well as a look at a rare daguerreotype of Mr. Douglass during this time, can be found at the Onondaga Historical Association on Montgomery Street, Syracuse.

From our 2008 Series, our featured haiku poster is a fitting tribute to Frederick Douglass and Black History Month here at Syracuse Poster Project.  With Bryan Wilbur’s fine haiku as its centerpiece, the wonderful depiction of Frederick Douglass was illustrated by artist, David Hicock, a Syracuse University Instructor of Film in the Department of Transmedia and owner of Animotion, Inc.

Frederick Douglass / spoke as cheering thousands sang / under this same sky

2008wilbur-hicock

Hope you’ve enjoyed this brief connection between haiku, Syracuse and Black History Month!