August 20, 2018

Grains of Salt (v37): Public Art for Syracuse

Grains of Salt
I visited my Philadelphia cousin a few years back, and remember being struck by the murals on the walls all over the city. Here's a blog devoted to the artworks - check out the photo galleries in the toolbar and you'll see why they caught my eye.

I remember thinking how cool it was, instead of looking at blank walls on buildings and bridges, that there was art everywhere, in all kinds of neighborhoods, and that it was not marred by graffiti.

How cool, I thought, if something like that could happen here in Syracuse someday...

Now, I know we have a handful of murals, including S.ALT CITY, on the side of the M. Lemp building, which is made from hundreds of QR codes and commemorates the city's salt making heritage; the street scene in Columbus Circle; and Clinton Serenade, depicting downtown Syracuse and the Erie Canal on the side of the NBT Bank on Salina Street.

We might never reach Philly heights when it comes to murals; after all, they've been at it for a while, it's a much bigger city, and so on - there are even books about them. But we're taking baby steps here in Syracuse, we are.

Two murals were recently completed under the railroad bridge on South Salina Street near Tallman St.  Syracuse illustrator London Ladd created the murals celebrating visits to our city by Frederick Douglass (1861) and Martin Luther King, Jr. (1961).  Here's a video of Ladd talking about his murals.

London Ladd Murals from The Girl Mirage® on Vimeo.

Another project recently announced is aiming high -- 12 murals in 12 weeks. This one's an effort of the public art pilot program 315Alive and will be headed by the Spark Contemporary Art Space on East Fayette Street. One mural, "The Hub of the Bicycle World," has been approved by the city's public arts commission, for the walls of the old Stearns Bicycle building.

In case you're not familiar with Stearns bicycles, this article from the Onondaga Historical Association highlights a race between a six-passenger Stearns bike and a NY Central train back in 1896. Ah, the good old days, right?

While Ladd's murals were funded from money Syracuse University pays the city (in lieu of taxes), the 315 Alive/Spark project is relaying on a GoFundMe page to raise $12,000 which will be supplemented by businesses and local foundations, with some $40,000 needed to help pay for insurance, permits, fees, materials and artist stipends.

Want to learn more, or donate?  Here's the link to the fundraising page. And for more info on public art in Syracuse, check out this link.

How cool it would be...

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