Category Archives: Art

The Westcott experiment

The somewhat surprising news that the Westcott Theater is being quickly made-over by its enterprising new owners makes me feel like this is one Syracuse-area revitalization that bears close watching. There’s no real sense of how many actual funds these folks have for their ambitious plans, but one thing that’s different from other revitalization plans we’ve seen: it’s happening very, very quickly – almost feverishly.

Death of old businesses and institutions in Syracuse may be inevitable, but delay in reanimating the corpses could be the factor that ultimately proves fatal. Almost all of the restoration and reinvention efforts in Syracuse focus on buildings that have been empty and unpurposed for years, decades even. Isn’t it time to start anticipating failures and planning for these newly empty spaces well ahead of time, instead of hoping hard and hand-wringing?

That said, if you anticipate failure too far ahead of time, you may have to deal with the specter of gentrification, which presupposes worthlessness according to what the “experts” say, and pushes out businesses (and people) while they are still very much alive. However, it could be that the Westcott Theater has been re-struck while the iron is truly hot. We’ll see.

Art is Lipe

Neat story in the Post-Standard today on The Gear Factory, a budding artist and musician studio complex in the former Brown-Lipe Gear building on West Fayette Street. (This is near Lipe Art Park, but not from the same people?) This is the project that was referred to in this post from the long-dead Salted City blog.

As far as I can tell, this project isn’t being supported by state grants or university money. Hey, if you’re going to have an artist colony, do it right — from the bootstraps. (If you’re not starving and dying of consumption and wearing fingerless gloves in the cold, is it really art?) $100 to $300 for studio rental space doesn’t seem too steep. Maybe I’ll put this officially on my personal “pipe dreams” list.

Other People’s Blogs: Complaints Edition

Steve Balogh has checked in with a couple of new posts — one at Clean Up Syracuse, where he explains why he’s no longer actively maintaining that blog, and one at Baloghblog, where he starts a conversation on the future of OnTrack as it relates to DestiNY.

My personal experience with OnTrack is very limited. The first, only (and probably final?) time I rode it was to get back from Armory Square to the SU hill after volunteering at an “intro to Syracuse” event involving new students. It was 1:30 a.m., I was barely awake, but I couldn’t believe how grungy the cars were. I remember feeling it was an embarrassment for the city of Syracuse to be showing this as a way to try and reassure students that they could get to downtown easily. I know a lot of those students were probably quite used to riding less-than-pristine trains at home, but still.

A complaint by the PS’ Brian Cubbison directed at the Washington Post. And who knew that the Post-Standard has its own march? (Although it sounds more like a waltz)

Speaking of music (and hat tip to BuffaloPundit)… maybe what Syracuse really needs is its own Complaints Choir. Here’s the Helsinki choir that started it all.

Heck, you could just take half the letters to the editor and posts of all of the Syracuse-area blogs, set them to music and then we’d have ourselves a true cultural event that people might even want to come out and see.

Here’s my complaint: Why is the redecorated metal bench at the corner of Erie and McBride — public art supposedly meant to Uplift the City — only really visible to the people getting onto the %#^$%#& onramp to 690?!?

Deviant art at the State Fair

While it is probably not the first time that artwork has been suppressed from the annual New York State Fair Photography Exhibition for annoying someone’s delicate sensibilities, it’s probably the first time that a piece of award-winning artwork has been yanked during the Fair for non-obscene content.

Fair boss saw smoke, and put out photo

That’s right, it wasn’t being censored because of the blow-up doll: it was being censored because of the cigarette. I have only one thing to say about Dan O’Hara’s censorship of artist work at the New York State Fair: What will our fine new Syracuse arts community have to say about this? (Nothing?)
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