Category Archives: museum

Historical Syracuse

On a recent visit to the Onondaga Historical Association (321 Montgomery Street, Syracuse, New York 13202), I was treated to this wonderful walk down local inventions memory lane. The Brannock device was invented here – that is a big one. It’s the foot measuring device that helps you discover the correct shoe size.

Here is a Franklin roadster from 1902. This is on loan from the Smithsonian and is enclosed in a special air-conditioned environment to preserve and protect it. This car is the third of its kind to be produced and possibly the only remaining one.

Does anyone else remember getting Byrne Dairy milk delivered? Or taking a special trip to Marble Farms to get ice cream after visiting the Burnet Park Zoo?

More inventions include washing machines and typewriters. I think my mom worked at the Smith-Corona factory at one point. There is also an entire floor devoted to Syracuse China.

In addition, there is a costume display. Clothing purchased at stores like Flah’s and The Addis Company were highly valued. The equivalent today would be shopping at Jet Black (6891 E. Genesee Street, Fayetteville, New York 13066).

There are perks to becoming a member of the OHA. You can research the history of your home for instance, which is something that I am very interested in doing. You can also get discounts in their gift shop and have exclusive tours.

For $10 per person, you can do an exclusive tour of the Magic Toy Shop set! I didn’t do that – I’d like to – who is in?

I was gifted this book, which documents the series.

I was on the show once, folk dancing with the other elementary school-aged girls from church to plug The Festival of Nations. It was an event where all the ethnic communities participated in a food, music and dance party, held at the Syracuse War Memorial every November in the ’70s and early ’80s. I was hoping our picture would find its way into the pamphlet but instead, the boys who make up the Macedonian band Merak made the cut. They are all at least ten years younger than me and never watched the show. Lol – I am beyond jealous!

Once again, this blog post will resonate with people my age. The Onondaga Historical Association has been around for one hundred years. Hopefully, it will not be lost to the youth of today. Syracuse has a rich history and there is still so much more life to be lived that will eventually become part of that history.

OHA Museum/Gift Gallery
Wednesday – Friday: 10 – 4
Saturday & Sunday: 11 – 4

OHA Administrative Offices
321 Montgomery Street
Syracuse, New York 13202

The History of Suburbia

Back in the day, we all had a moment or two at Suburban Park. It was an amusement park located in Manlius, New York. The last time Kathy and I were there was the last time that she was taller than me.

The site is now an apartment complex called…wait for it…

Suburban Park.

There is a sweet exhibit of items from the defunct park on view at the Manlius Historical Society, 109 Pleasant Street, Manlius, New York 13104. The museum is only open on Saturdays from 11:00 to 3:00 pm.

Yesterday, I was greeted by Sue Collin, lifelong Manlius resident and volunteer at the museum. We talked about our concern that history may be lost on today’s youth and shared our mutual hope that schools will educate students on local history in addition to whatever social studies curriculum is mandated.

Much of Suburban Park has been lost to history. Rides were left to deteriorate and later demolished to make way for the apartment complex.

I belong to a Facebook group about Suburban Park where people reflect on their memories while sharing pictures and memorabilia. Truth be told, I don’t have memories of the place, just pictures that prove I’d been there. I was probably two years old, maybe two-and-a-half in these pictures.

The museum also has this bit of history on the development of Green Lakes State Park. Someone should write a book about this. I would love a coffee table book with all of these pictures. So amazing!

The Manlius Historical Society & Museum is small but it packs a punch. Thank you, Sue, for such a lovely experience. I enjoyed meeting you!

Call (315) 682-6660 for more information or email them at You can also visit the Cheney House Research Center located right next door. I believe they are open on Thursdays or you can schedule an appointment. <3


So, this happened today….

I sat in the Dalai Lama’s chair – the one in the photograph (above). The actual one. It is located at the Stickley Museum, 300 Orchard Street, Fayettevile, New York 13066. It’s on the second floor of the Fayetteville Free Library.

The building was the first home of the Stickley factory. The area is now mostly residential but back in the early twentieth century, it was a hub of industry due to its proximity to the Ledyard Canal.

I had no idea of this incredible history nor an idea of the amazing artifacts and furniture I would encounter today. I am a huge fan of Stickley. I have nine pieces in my personal collection.

The brothers Stickley went their separate ways. J.G.’s wife sold his company to the Audis. Mr. Audi was one of the top salesmen for the brand and was considered family. There is a photograph showing them all at a dinner party together in the late ’50s right before J.G.’s passing.

I just love this, because it ensures a continuation of a great legacy. The Stickley name is synonymous with the Craftsman style. The Audis resurrected this style in the late ’80s, creating a Mission renaissance. The current company’s factory is down the road in adjacent Manlius, New York. There they create a diverse collection of contemporary and modern Colonial style goods, as well as continuing to make traditional Mission-style furniture (now made slightly larger to accommodate twenty-first century customers with bigger houses and more clothes to fill dressers).

Included in this museum are original items owned by Gustav Stickley including those formerly and famously owned by Barbara Streisand, some of which were photographed for the cover of one of her record albums.

I gasped when I first entered the space. I had been photographing the room on the first floor, which is filled with Stickley furniture and used as a gaming center, in addition to quiet reading. Four women were there playing Mahjong and there was a sign for a sewing club. I thought that was the museum until I saw the sign to take the elevator up to the second floor. And…wow.

There I was greeted by Amanda L. Clifford. She’s the director of the museum. She is a Syracuse University graduate with a degree in Art History and a devoted employee of the Stickley organization. Ms. Clifford has a wealth of information at her fingertips regarding the craftsmanship of the furniture and how it has evolved through the century. Her knowledge of each of the Stickley brothers’ individual and group/partnered trajectories and of Harvey Ellis, the architect who was employed briefly by Gustav, was just so informative.

*The Harvey Ellis furniture is identified by iconic floral inlays. He died before he saw any of his beautiful designs put into production! So tragic.

The museum is open Tuesday from 9:00 am-5:00 pm and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm or by appointment. There is also a Stickley factory tour you can take (1 Stickley Drive, Manlius, New York 13104). Visit their website at or call (315) 682-5500. <3

Hoop Madness

Every year about this time, I assign a sketchbook assignment called March Madness, which is a drawing of people playing basketball. Not the hoop or a ball, or an aerial view of a basketball court.

But that is pretty much what I get. So frustrating. Basketball isn’t a successful theme for art.

As per this art exhibition at the Everson Museum of Art, I can only surmise that the curator thought – give the city what it loves, and for Syracuse, that is basketball. Art as secondary to the sport. Basketball players posing as contemporary artists.

Shoelaces as art. Basketballs as art. Sneakers as art. Trading cards as art.

And a room of basketball hoops and balls to actually play the game.

I wish I could be positive and open minded about this. Like in the vortex happy. But I was all – this is dumb.

Hoop Dreams: Basketball and Contemporary Art continues through May 21, 2023. Not sure if it is open today because of the blizzard, but you can make your own judgment during regular museum hours listed below.

Everson Museum of Art

401 Harrison Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
Tel (315) 474 6064

Museum Hours
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: 11:00am – 5:00pm
Thursday: 11:00am – 8:00pm
Friday: 11:00am – 5:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday: 10:00am – 5:00pm

The Thirty Dollar Ridlon

Jim Ridlon has donated these amazing prints to the Everson Museum of Art. They are located in the museum gift shoppe – for sale – and they are priced between $30 and $50. They are embossed. I’m not sure if this is true but the young man at the sales desk said he’d created them when he was a student and since he is not known for etchings or prints he decided to price them low.

I mean, they are a steal, really. They are created on a thick archival paper, probably Arches, not sure. You’d have to get them framed, but wow!

This is incredibly cool.

In Scale

I’ve been reminiscing about Dawn Dolls. They were manufactured for only three years in the early ’70s by Topper. Dawn, Angie, Gary, and company. they were only six-and-a-half inches tall, so they were incompatible with Barbies because they were so small. But they were so pretty with silky long hair and “real” eyelashes, and of course, with very awesome 1970s fashions. I loved them and I love them still.

I’ve been stalking them on the Internet – Ebay, Etsy and Mercari mainly. I don’t really want to buy them, do I? I want to be the Dawn doll. Haven’t I always? So funny that my hair resembles hers now. All I need is an Alice & Olivia dress and I am good to go.

What struck me as I viewed Sharif Bey’s art exhibit at the Everson Museum of Art is that he too seems to be enamored with doll collections albeit his are quite large scale especially the necklaces!

Like Vanessa German’s work and Vanessa Johnson’s too, Bey has added his take on the African experience by way of the doll.

This show is housed in two of the four upstairs galleries and spans the artist’s thirty-year career. I mean, he’s only forty-eight, which indicates that some of the pieces in this collection of works were created when he was only eighteen. It is a lot of work – from functional ceramics to these large figurative pieces and finally the accessory wall. It is incredibly impressive for sure.

These necklaces in particular are really something. In the accompanying pamphlet prepared for a Junteenth visitation, it is revealed that he used toilet paper over glaze in the kiln to manifest the charred pattern on the “beadwork”. It is genius.

The scale speaks volumes about who this man is as an artist and as a human. It is a combo of continued visual exploration and ethnic pride coupled with a desire to both learn and teach.

Bey is a professor at Syracuse University in the Art Education department. The brochure professes to take children on a journey to discover themselves as he serves to explore ideas to carry him on his own path.

The exhibition is titled “Facets”. It works so well here because the Everson has always been first and foremost a ceramics museum. Knowing that these massive pieces are also fragile lends itself well to that idea that we are all fragile beings in a way, always seeking that strength of character in our true identities while harboring thoughts of doubt, worry and stupid fears that can easily break our spirits.

I wonder if that thought crossed his mind? No matter what doll one identifies with – big or small, black or white, etc., etc., we are all that creative spirit looking for a way to connect and feel that blessed feeling of validation as we develop our crafts/psyches in order to continue the ascent through life.

The Everson Museum of Art is located at 401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, NY, 13202. Call (315) 474-6064 for more information or find them at

Sharif Bey: Facets continues through August 14, 2022.

Marisol @ Warhol

The Andy Warhol Museum is located at 117 Sandusky Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Jessica Beck, the museum’s Milton Fine curator of art, has organized an amazing exhibition pairing Warhol and Marisol Escobar (1930-2016). The show is titled Marisol and Warhol Take New York.

It is a trip down memory lane, a story of two artists navigating the Pop Art world of NYC circa the 1960s. Marisol’s sculptures are an exquisite marriage between geometric wood blocks and proficient rendering skill. These three-dimensional portraits depict social values and popular culture tomes with whimsy and bold panache. I just love her work.

My friend Joyce and her family took a trip there last weekend. On Saturday, October 23, 2021, Jessica Beck will lead a tour of the show, complete with art making and sketching activities from noon to 4:00 pm.

The exhibition continues through February 14, 2022. In April, it will travel to the Perez Art Museum, Miami FL. Contact the museum for more info – (412) 237-8300.

Collection Legacy

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The four upstairs galleries at the Everson Museum of Art (401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, New York 13202) are filled with treasures, some of which I have seen many times over the decades – but not like this.  Elizabeth Dunbar, director and CEO, has a way of pairing paintings and ceramics with a keen eye that makes everything come alive and feel fresh again.


It is this new perspective that breathes love into the exhibition, A Legacy of Firsts:  The Everson Collects.  It showcases the museums over one hundred year history, presenting the cohesion via an American thread.  The exhibition honors the museum’s legacy and in turn reveres the decisions made by previous curators and directors.  I love this credence to respect.  It feels welcoming.  It feels like family.  It feels like home.  As she says in her message in the winter 2020 Everson Bulletin, [the museum is] “For artists.  For community.  For everyone.”



This is an historical trek that begins at the top of the spiral staircase with pieces purchased around 1911 when the museum was known as the Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts – impressionistic landscapes, portraits and still-lifes displayed in ornate golden frames coupled with the ceramic pieces of the day.  Adelaide Alsop Robineau was a local potter who corresponded with and met the museum’s director at that time, Fernando Carter, as she frequented the facility back then – her intricately carved vessels were the first pieces purchased for what became a premier ceramics collection.





There are over 11,000 items in the Everson’s collection! As the show progresses into the second chamber, you are jolted by bold colors.  This room is filled with large-scale abstractions and colorful pottery to mix and match.  Lee Krasner’s painting is displayed above her husband’s, an early Jackson Pollack.  I love the similarity in their styles.






There is a display of transmedia here as well, but the videos don’t translate well in a photograph.


The next gallery is familiar in that the museum purchased pieces from exhibitions from their recent past.  This (below) is a piece by Vanessa German.



And I believe that (above) is an Angela Fraleigh 



The fourth gallery space is heaviest on the ceramic collection.  It is such a bold move to see these pieces sans glass or other protective shielding, but that is what makes them so compelling.  Textural items created to be touched that one must not touch within reach – when I visited the museum as a child, all the ceramics were under glass in the do not touch space, as though they came to the museum to die, lol.  Now they are sooooo alive!

This show is visual candy.  I love the angles of the presentations, the way pieces connect, that flow, rhythm and the sheer beauty of the artwork.  It’s a wonderful journey through yesteryear and beyond.  <3



A Legacy of Firsts:  The Everson Collects continues through March 22, 2020.

The Everson Museum of Art is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.  Hours of operation:  Wednesday, Friday and Sunday noon – 5 PM, Thursdays noon – 8 PM and Saturdays 10 AM – 5 PM.  There is a sliding scale admission fee (free for members).  Visit their web-site for the deets.


Measuring Up




The Art Galleries at Syracuse University are designed to facilitate education.  In other words, it’s a teaching museum.  Professors require students to go to there – to critique the art/learn how to judge a work of art.  Students journal about experiences for classes, attend the receptions and lectures, and even work there (which has to be the greatest work-study gig).

Last year, former Director Domenic Iocono mentioned it was the reason artists like Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist and Kiki Smith wanted to collaborate by sharing their work with our community, enhancing the walls of the spaces with their respective visions.


In this season’s first exhibition, Not a Metric Matters, the university galleries led by new Director and Chief Curator Vanja Malloy, Ph.D. hosts its own – the School of Visual & Performing Arts faculty.  It is an opportunity to showcase their talent, yes, and also turn the tables on the critiquing process allowing the professors to show students how it’s really done.

Margie Hughto has been affiliated with the university for many, many years.  When I spoke to her last month, she said teaching is still fun and so, she will continue to share her expertise with students for many years to come.

Her ceramic and found object work is exquisite.  It is perfection in editing – selecting just the right found object pieces to coordinate with the ceramic pieces.  The work alludes to the recent discarded and forgotten in terms of technology.


The thought provoking concepts aside, Hughto’s artwork screams of her strength of character.  She finds beauty in every angle, in each piece fused as one.  They are signatures of her style while continuing to surprise and delight us, continuing a growth trajectory as an artist and that in itself is the lesson.






Holly Greenberg has isolated grief in this productive series of drawings.  These pieces resonated with me – as you know my father recently passed away and his belongings are still in the closets, his car in the driveway at Mom’s house.  Using these ordinary objects as memento gives them a lovingly somber power and isolating them in their compositions drives the message home.

It is curious how objects can retain the emotion of the spirit and Greenberg’s proficiency in rendering provides the elevation of their status.




Ann Clarke‘s fiber artwork is marvelously original.  Texture is my thing and seeing monumental work on the walls creates a bold statement about time.  The fabrics are traditional, but the techniques are fresh and alive.  The hooked rug eye is really incredible in-person.  I love the idea of taking a method we all used in the past and formulating this new pattern, which seems to denote to me that someone is watching over me, loving me.


Clarke’s statement does imply that she is the watchful eye for her ailing mother and that is a beautiful thing.  That the old becomes new again, and time is cyclical.





Other teaching artists in this show –

Yasser Aggour, Cooper Battersby, Emily Vey Duke, Don Carr, Deborah Dohne, Heath Hanlin, Seyeon Lee, Sarah McCoubrey, Su Hyun Nam, Vasilios Papajoannu, James Ransome, Tom Sherman and Chris Wildrick

Their work takes dimension as paintings, drawings, photo-collage, video and installation – and all have something important to say within the context of their visualizations.








There are more exhibits in the space, all curated by different people.  DJ Hellerman is the curator of this show.  He is the Art and Program Curator at the Everson Museum of Art and collaborates with SU’s Department of Transmedia.  I met him while stumbling into a critique of university students’ final exhibitions at Apostrophe’s.


David Prince curated the display of former VPA faculty members.  As you know, I am an SU grad (B.F.A. ’85, M.S. ’93).  These professors are my people.  I absolutely loved Rodger Mack.  He was so devoted to building the sculpture department and his bronze sculptures are THE BEST!


Seeing his hands portrayed by Jerome Witkin brought a tear to my eye.  There is so much love here, people.  Going to Syracuse University was a dream come true for me – I feel incredibly blessed to have been the first person in my family to ever go to a university –  and to see the professors being honored is such a gift.  They deserve every accolade.


They were and are true working artists, not just people showing up to collect a paycheck.


There’s lots more to see of these exhibits and the vast permanent collections.  It will all be on display until November 24, 2019.  There will be an art reception on Thursday, September 12, 2019 from 5 – 7 pm.  And Holly Greenberg will be giving a presentation in the adjacent Shemin Auditorium on Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 6:30 pm.

Syracuse University Art Galleries is located in the Shaffer Art Building on Syracuse University campus.  Free parking is available on Sundays and on Thursday evenings in the Q lot – or at least it was when I was there yesterday.  Call (315) 443-4097 for more information including hours of operation.  <3



City Market


This slideshow requires JavaScript.



When I met Jason Alexander, I did that goofy Cinderella’s step-sister thing and asked him how he liked our Syracuse, New York weather.

He replied, “It sucks!”  This was after a performance of the play he’d directed at Syracuse Stage.  My friend and I looked at each other in an are-you-kidding-me glance because we both love it here, both love to hike whether in rain, snow, sleet or hail.  And our weather had been particularly great in June.

So funny – and that is why I don’t have a selfie with the Seinfeld alum.



Today’s weather is sheer perfection – a magnificent sunny and breezy day to explore the offerings at City Market.  Sponsored by the Everson Museum of Art (401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, NY 13202), the market is housed on the museum grounds around the fountains.



It takes place on the second Sunday of the month from 10 am – 4 pm.  There are two dates left before the season ends – Sunday, September 8, 2019 and Sunday, October 13, 2019.



There is a lot to peruse – jewelry, trinkets, clothing, food, furniture and flea market-y miscellaneousness.  And art, of course.




Ken Nichols is there selling the mugs and rice bowls created in his studio at Clayscapes Pottery.


Tyler Cagwin created Nostalgia Chocolate.  He manufactures the product here in Syracuse with international cocoa beans.  The flavors are rich and satisfying!  Gourmet chocolate with health benefits! (That’s a win-win).









I loved these ceramic pins and magnets created by Beckie Bortel of Beckie’s Pottery.  They have a substantial feel to them and they look like ginger snap cookies.  Great patina!



Terry Lynn Cameron is selling originals and prints of her colorful paintings. The prints are done on canvas, which is very cool.  I am really impressed with how she markets her product!  Some of the art has been adhered to sketchbooks and daily planners.  Love!





Lori Lizzio‘s work can be found as originals, prints and notecards.  They are ink and wash pieces of animals and figures.


Syracuse does have beautiful weather, Jason Alexander, and beautiful people – and art.  It is satisfying and fun.  Really fun.  It doesn’t suck. <3