Here are some of the celebrity portraits my 8th grade Studio in Art students (from Chittenango Middle School) finished back in March. I didn’t display them because I was saving them for the school fair, which never happened.
I allow students to pick almost anyone – meaning anyone “appropriate”, and this year you will see a variety from sports, performing arts, the art world and social media (and one grand-dad). Two Steve Harveys, lol. He wins as most popular this time.
We are so lucky to have some of the most beautiful New York State parks in our area. The meromictic lake trails and glacier produced hills of Green Lakes State Park and Clark Reservation are among my favorites.
But today I decided to traipse around the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park (3883 Stone Quarry Road, Cazenovia, New York 13035) – investigating paths I had never ventured on and, really, exploring the entire park. Dorothy Riester’s legacy to Cazenovia, New York is a great gift to the public. The park is open and currently free. Everyone is on their honor to come in small family groups or alone and to steer clear of the other patrons.
There were, maybe, six other people there today. The forecast said rain but it was all bright sunshine when I arrived. It was as if someone lead me there, truly. I was inspired to go after meditating and when I arrived it was just incredibly magical.
My motto is to meditate every day, then spend time outside every day and to be grateful – to keep a gratitude journal and write down the positive aspects in my life every day. The gratitude today was pretty much over-the-top. Exploring these trails was fun in and of itself, but then there was this added bonus of stumbling upon works of art. Sculptures scattered around, both new and old familiar friends. Some meant to be temporary and others standing the test of time.
Escaping into this reality for a couple hours is the stuff of legend. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dorothy, for building this world. <3
I seem to get more work done if I am dressed – that is, out of pajamas and into real clothes, as though I am actually going somewhere. Today after an amazing hike at Green Lakes and some sunbathing on my deck (what a beautiful day!), I bathed and donned my Equipment leather dress then set out to organize paperwork for my Schoology platform.
I also scheduled some Zoom meetings and emailed students about them and about other stuff. It wasn’t technically supposed to be a workday, but I like to have things ready – email on Sunday nights so that students can work on their artwork on Wednesdays and Fridays.
The Erie Canal Museum (318 Erie Blvd. East, Syracuse, New York 13202) is host to a ceramics exhibition, one installed in February 2020. The museum is currently closed due to the world-wide health crisis – that makes interacting with the clay vessels (created as site-specific art) nearly impossible.
This is an irony because the idea behind the work envelopes the scope of human life, as it interacts with the forces of nature, the forces of water and the history of the man-made canal. The humans in question are every socio-economic level of local and regional society. All races of people who, in some way, have interacted with, associated with or had some understanding of what the Erie Canal has meant in our history, as well as those who have no idea but in fact, have been, inadvertently, affected by the legendary waterway.
Artist Linda Zhang was the 2017-2018 Boghosian Fellow in the School of Architecture at Syracuse University. She came to Syracuse from Europe and knowing no one, she spent time meditating (think deep thought) on designing the curriculum for this relatively new fellowship. She proceeded to think about and create strategies for the design of her position, ideas that would ultimately catapult her educational journey to include making art and teaching electives at the college, which led to philosophical-infused artwork and the idea of making meaning in terms of one’s personal vortex. This path included an interdisciplinary union with Errol Willet, Associate Professor of Art (ceramics) and Biko Mandela Gray, Assistant Professor of American Religion.
Although Zhang is currently a professor at Ryerson University in Toronto, The Story of Water pairs the artist with her SU educational cohorts. The clay vessels in this exhibition were slip cast and formatted utilizing water from the canal. There is a transformation – water crafts and the art is manipulated to create a phenomenological transcendence – art as symbolism.
Taking an idea and moving it through time, so that the result is present while encompassing a larger whole – this is incredibly interesting on so many levels. Fortunately for all, nothing is truly impossible. This exhibition can be viewed remotely. Zhang will be offering a lecture on her process via an on-line Zoom meeting. This event takes place on Saturday, April 18, 2020 at 1:00 PM. Click on the link above to join the party or check out the same link by way of the event’s Facebook page.
The event is free, however; donations to the museum are welcome. <3
*from the Erie Canal Museum web-site
February 3-April 16, 2020:The Story of Water: The Erie Canal as a Site of Untold Stories
“The Story of Water” is a collaborative project between Linda Zhang, Assistant Professor of Architecture at Ryerson University, and Biko Gray, Assistant Professor of Religion at Syracuse University. This exhibit features clay vessels based on 3-D drone scans of Erie Canal structures, transformed by the introduction of Canal water before the firing process. The resulting clay models symbolize the transformative effects, positive and negative, that the Erie Canal had on the lives of those who built it, used it, and lived near it.
Zhang will discuss the artwork, her creative process, and what inspired her and collaborator Biko Gray to develop this exhibit. “The Story of Water” features clay vessels based on 3-D drone scans of Erie Canal structures in Central New York. The artist introduced Canal water to the pieces before the firing process, creating models that symbolize the transformative character of water and the Erie Canal.
The Museum is currently closed to the public to protect visitors, volunteers, and staff from Covid-19. We’re working diligently to serve you by offering programs by alternative means, and greatly appreciate your help. You can make a donation to the Museum through the link in the “Get Tickets” box below,
We look forward to seeing you on April 18 for this thought-provoking talk!
Recently, on a path I had never taken before at my new happy place (near the old quarry at Clark Reservation State Park), I six-feet-apart ran into Bobbi Petrocci, who gets photo cred for these fabulous pictures of snails! They were everywhere. I am just…wow. So many different colors. They are just sooooo cool.
We are both art teachers – talked about color wheel colors in nature – a lesson on using found objects/things in nature to create a color wheel. She has already assigned it and I am planning on adding it to my class lessons.
And then. These snails. Everywhere. I LOVE nature. <3
I am loving this project. Here is another amazing art activity that brings a community together. We are Chittenango! We are Bears. #BearCountryStrong
I would love to see these saturating social media. Show me your paw. Make it using this template with markers, crayons, colored pencil or make it sculptural, with rocks, sea shells, buttons, or create a multi-media collage using magazine images, ink stamps or even thread.
We may be social distancing, isolating, but we can stand together artistically. How totally cool!!!!! <3
It started out as an experiment. How could Michael John Heagerty create an homage to artist Ji Lee, as well as manufacture a happening that transcends art and becomes a part of the bigger picture?
Answer: plant umbrellas.
Last summer, as co-owner of Wildflowers Armory (217 S. Salina Street, Syracuse, New York 13202), Heagerty collaborated to install a series of umbrellas in the nook next to the gallery’s former location. The event, called #colorfulcanopysyr invited patrons to visit and share their photographs on social networks, which led to a “Best Selfie Spot” award from local media.
The umbrellas lend color to otherwise dreary spaces, according to the artist, as follows:
Red is a very emotionally intense color. It enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure & appetite. Red represents COURAGE.
Pink is intuitive and insightful, showing tenderness and kindness with its empathy and sensitivity. Pink represents HOPE.
Yellow is the most luminous of all the colors of the spectrum. It’s the color that captures our attention more than any other color. It’s the color of happiness, and optimism, of enlightenment and creativity, sunshine and spring. Yellow represents HAPPINESS.
Burgundy, named for the French region of wine-making, shows unconventional thinking, a desire for being unique and self expression. It can increase your energy, like red. Burgundy represents COMFORT.
The umbrella configurations have visited several locations in the past few days. They have spent twenty-four hours each at Onondaga Park, Woodland Reservoir, Onondaga Creekwalk, Thornden Park and their present location, Willow Bay at Onondaga Lake Parkway (3858 Long Branch Road, Liverpool, New York 13090).
They are planted in the ground (curved handles removed), and to honor our current life circumstances, they are pointing towards hospitals or engaging in the six-feet-apart modality.
For the next phase, the future installments will last forty-eight hours in duration. This for those who adhere to an every-other-day walk-about, as we further distance ourselves while allowing the medical epidemic to dissipate. The installations will continue as phantom pop-ups to sustain the idea’s magic.
Heagerty is a fan of the artist Christo who, along with his wife Jeanne-Claude, created large-scale temporary installations for the purpose of fulfilling a happiness and joy credo or art for art’s sake, in addition to making the invisibility of common-place landscapes visible via “immediate aesthetic impact”.
It is this purpose Michael John Heagerty aligns with most. This is his love-letter to Syracuse, New York, suggesting that we WILL get through this mayhem with courage, hope, happiness and comfort, and above all, a caring, creative-arts zest for life. <3
***all other photographs not tagged are used with permission courtesy of the artist
I had the foresight to purchase new pajamas – I didn’t know then that I would be spending the majority of my time in them. But, hey, it is fun! I love being home, love spending time with my cat, love time to figure out this remote teaching thing. Turns out we are spending more time teaching remotely than we did actually teaching face-to-face. Lots of individual emails with students and parents, lots of information added to my Schoology platform, lots of learning how to use technology – I am no longer a Zoom virgin, lol.
We were supposed to go back on April 15th but they are targeting April 29, 2020 now. I added names to all the canvases and papers I planned for students to use in class – so, I am just going to trust that they will eventually be able to create those projects. I sent them home with an art packet on the day before our government-mandated mass exodus from school.
The Social Studies teacher told me that many of my students were working on that art homework during her Zoom meeting. Yeah! I love that. <3
I live in a one-hundred-twenty-year-old house, which tends to get dusty within minutes of dusting/cleaning, etc. To promote wellness, I have lots of plants. I go with a red and green plus neutrals color palette, so the greenery fits with the decor while helping me breathe the sweetness of fresh air.
This morning, as I face week two of cloistering, I thought about how I achieve wellness. It is a state of mind that represents positive energy and is always with me despite the outside world’s attempt to create the fear of doom/gloom and mayhem. My plants are not concerned about a health crisis (nor is my cat, Pablo, for that matter, who is loving having mommy at home). I recently repotted them all with new soil and in larger pots, and they are thriving. They are happy with just a bit of water and the low light sunshine they receive from the windows of my East Syracuse, New York American Bungalow.
They are alive. They thrive. They are happy. They are well. They bring peace and joy to my life. It is my sincere pleasure to take care of them.
What does wellness mean to you? Send me a photograph that utilizes the theme of wellness. It can be a person, place or thing. It can be an abstract notion or a portrait, landscape or still-life. Show me wellness and together we will saturate social media with it. Attach your images in the comments section. My students – send yours to my school email address and we will make this an enrichment assignment towards your 4th quarter grade.
Let the wellness in, my friends. Allow and receive. Just…let it in. <3