Category Archives: sculpture

Lots of Art!

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Last Thursday I attended the art reception for a new group of artists exhibiting and selling artwork at Natur-Tyme on Erie Blvd. East in Dewitt, NY.  Maria Rizzo is the resident artist. She books the others to show alongside her paintings for three-month engagements.  I was in the first one from July to September of last year.

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This time around there are three new artists:  Katie Turner, Blane Berry and Annie Taylor. Annie wasn’t there when I got there towards the end of the event (earlier I’d attended a seminar on photography at the Everson Museum of Art), but I met with the others and ended up buying a couple of things with the 10% reception night discount!

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I really loved the way the work was merchandised this time around.  A lot of smaller works with price points as low as $4.00!  Maria has made little magnets of her gorgeous tree paintings and sells them, as well as bookmarks and prints of her artwork in various sizes. The originals are on the walls too.

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Katie Turner is another local artist who has displayed work at the Chittenango Middle School library gallery and has spoken about her work to my students.  She creates watercolors on Terraskin papers.  She demonstrated the properties of this paper during her talk at CMS and it is really cool stuff!  I really love her work!  I bought a small painting of a bouquet done in reds and greens, which is pretty much the color scheme of my entire house.

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I bought a little wooden sculpture inscribed with the word love from Blane Berry.  It requires light – there are a bunch of drilled holes and only some of them are the coded message.  It is very special (and was only $5.00!) and makes a great conversation starter.

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I assume this group will continue their exhibition through March 2016,  if you want to check them out.  Who knows?  You may even spot a celebrity or two shopping in there.  It is a very cool place.

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Rob Schneider visits Natur-Tyme!

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Good Gig

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Whenever I run into J.P. Crangle, he always tells me that my teaching job is a good gig.  I LOVE that because it is soooo true!  I totally love my job – everything about it.  The curriculum is flexible enough that I can incorporate any artists or art movements, or even cultures that I choose.  I mean, there are thousands to pick from, as everything we know about ancient civilizations comes from studying their art.

I love the people at school.  The students are really fun.  Eighth graders and now, after a ten-year hiatus, I will be teaching fifth grade again (one section)!  They seem to love the projects we do and we spend a lot of time smiling, laughing and having fun while making art.  And it only gets better every year.

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J.P. Crangle and I went to graduate school together.  He is a professional artist and caricaturist extraordinaire!  I still have the one he drew of me, which he had created for the open house we had for students back in the M-17 days of the Syracuse University Art Education department.

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Good gig – he said it again when I saw him Friday, January 8, 2016 at the Edgewood Gallery art opening reception where he is showing and selling brilliantly-hued cartoon paintings on wood and quirky plaster doll sculptures in a show titled “Small Planets” alongside the work of Dan Shanahan and Sharon Alma.

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His paintings and sculptures are truly whimsical displays of color and fun!  The gallery/frame shop looks totally different from the way it looked during the last show (with the exception of the amazing David McDonald’s mugs on a table and powerhouse artist Arlene Abend’s tiny sculptures on the window ledge surrounded by healthy, leafy plants!  They were there the last time too and are not part of this exhibit).

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Dan Shanahan is exhibiting these incredible watercolor paintings and hand painted prints rendered with the tiniest details that keep you involved, seeking and finding more to see.  They are doodles with precision.  Really incredible stuff.

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Sharon Alma, another friend of mine, is selling jewelry in the display case.  Very colorful and incredibly, they are made of paper!

I went to the Gold Key awards ceremony for the regional Scholastic Art Awards competition last Thursday night at OCC and I was struck by the proficiency. The majority of artwork selected as winners this year were literal translations in portrait, still life and landscape.  Student technicians with inspiring mastery of detail.  The rendering skills are nothing short of breathtaking.  Not much over all in the abstract realm though nor in emotional content.

It was the same way when I was in high school.  Top prize was a Blue Ribbon back then, which I won for my portfolio – this led to getting accepted at Syracuse University where I was told my portfolio was one of the best the interviewer had seen.

Funny that, because when I look at the work now – some on the walls of my parents’ home and others that I have in a paper portfolio shoved away in the crawl space of my 2nd bedroom – I think it completely lacks emotion.

Yes, I can draw, but the artwork I enjoy making now is abstract -about my emotional journey through life, one rich with texture and rhythm, and color.

Which is why I was thrilled to support my former student Maria L. Her sculpture portfolio won a Gold Key (her current instructor is Allison Kominecky).

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She created this white dress from an underlying structure of chicken wire.  The bodice was shellacked with her parents’ divorce papers.  All of the tissue paper from Christmas (according to her mom) made up the fluffy skirt.  This hauntingly beautiful piece filled with raw emotion transcends the competition and becomes a kind of memory of time and space while her other large piece filled with a cascade of paper butterflies almost says that beauty is abundant yet fleeting so one must enjoy the moment while one can.  It all makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time while giving the artist a giant hug for her bravery and perseverance.

That’s joy.

Her work, like the three artists’s at Edgewood, can also be described as whimsical and fun.  One can surely find the beauty in realism, but art can also symbolize magic in other ways.  Maria’s work and the rest resonate joy, an emotion we can all do well to include more of in our lives.

I just read a thingy in one of Rhonda Byrnes’ books about it.  Say it to yourself whenever you can, but slowly.  I – AM – JOY.  Say it a bunch of times and often.  If you are ever down for whatever reason, I guarantee it will make you smile.  Makes you realize that life is supposed to be joyous and fun.  That’s definitely a good gig if you can find it.

The Edgewood show will be on display at 216 Tecumseh Road, Syracuse, NY 13224 until February 19, 2016.  For more information and hours of operation, find the gallery here or call (315) 445-8111.

If you are interested in checking out Maria’s art and the rest of the Scholastic Art Awards winners, it is all on display until the end of February at the Whitney Building at Onondaga Community College, Syracuse, NY.

 

 

The Dreamer’s Legacy

You’d think that Syracusans would have no trouble driving around in a blizzard yesterday, but the hazardous conditions resulted in many car accidents around town.  I stayed home in my little bungalow in my pajamas all day, a fire in my wood-stove and a cat on my lap.  Spent much of the day dreaming.  Thinking about future art and writing projects and reflecting on the last six to twelve months of my life.

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I met Jan Brett once and asked her if she stays in her pajamas all day since she creates her children’s books from her home office.  She laughed and said she gets dressed every morning and makes it like a nine-to-five job.

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So, today I got up with the intention of bracing the storm to go to work.  I had breakfast and used the snow-blower on my driveway only to find out once I came in that school was changed from two-hour delay to closed. (I am about to go out again to do it all over again.  It is seriously snowing like cray-cray!)

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I am in yoga pants and a cashmere sweater and my Ugg boots that I wear as slippers.  Plus a cashmere beanie because it is still a little cold in here – apparently, I have the worst insulation in the neighborhood, as National Grid likes to remind me every month with those you-use-way-more-energy-than-anyone-else letters.

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I compromised a little – not quite the Tashionista I would have been if I had gone to work, but I am “decent”, lol.

Okay, now that all of that is out of the way, welcome to my first blog post of 2016.  Part of my contemplation has been deciding what my goals will be for this blog for this year and beyond, for my art and for my life in general. As I still sit here pondering, I am also looking back to see how far – if at all – I have come on this artistic journey.  Last year at this time, I noted a few things.  Like I had two students win awards in Scholastics. This year I had six honorable mentions out of fourteen entries, which is pretty great!

Last year at this time, I had 3,700 followers on Twitter.  Now I have 6,504.  I also doubled my connections on both Facebook and Linkedin.  By promoting these blog posts, I have received a lot of support from so many people all over the world, and tons of endorsements from friends, acquaintances and strangers on Linkedin.

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My friend Anne Novado recently closed Gallery 4040 here in Syracuse and moved to Jersey City, NJ to start a new gallery, which will open in the spring.  I miss her already, but it is such an exciting time for her.  She is embarking on a new chapter in her life, a new adventure.  A Syracuse artist/businesswoman branching out into another city and state.

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I love the idea of reinventing myself, of finding my purpose, and a part of me wishes I had some giant life-altering event to focus on like Anne has.  At Christmas, my sister said something I thought was profound – she said, “I chose to move back to Syracuse (from Boston) I chose to live my life here.  I don’t want to find a job elsewhere.”

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I did that once, when I lived in Ft. Lauderdale over twenty years ago.  My life feels like it is supposed to be here now.  I mean, I think so.  I want to say I have the same conviction that she has, but I am not quite sure that I do.  I do think of myself as a Syracuse artist though, as I have lived the majority of my life here.

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On Sunday, Penny Santy and I visited the Onondaga Historical Association.  It is a museum encompassing a history of Syracuse, New York.  It is such a beautiful thing to have historians who keep track of what once was and are the guardians of both past and future here in Syracuse. Like The Giver, lol.

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There are two art exhibitions currently, as well as permanent collection memorabilia.  One of the shows is called Snowy Splendor – Winter Scenes of Onondaga County.  It’s on the 2nd floor.  My friend Joan Applebaum has a painting in this show.

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There are paintings and photographs depicting Syracuse scenes and landmarks.  They’ve filled the room with flocked pine trees and old sleds too.  And of course, that giant statue that used to be on the roof of a brewery on the North side.  I remember seeing it a lot growing up.  We used to wait in the car while Mom ran into a bakery around there, I think.

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It’s weird seeing it as part of Syracuse’s history because I don’t feel like I am that old and it is a part of my life’s narrative.  That’s what this museum is like for me.  A lot of what I saw in there looks like it came from our old house on Ashworth Place or things many of us can still find in basements or attics complete with that familiar musty mildew smell.  There is a collection of World War I medals like the one in my jewelry box that belonged to my great grandfather.  There are plates from the defunct Syracuse China factory – the ones my parents have with the bird in the center.  Someone has made broken pieces of these plates into jewelry that is for sale in the gift shop.  You can purchase silk scarves with that same bird.  It’s just all so familiar, like a home away from home or a dream….

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The other art exhibition is called A Life in Art – A Highlight of Women Artists in OHA’s collections.  Its location is adjacent to the gift shop.  This show is up until June 5, 2016 so there is plenty of time to see it.  My friend Arlene Abend is represented in the exhibit.  In the ’70s, she created these little metal sculptures for the Syracuse Symphony’s fundraiser. Arlene has been such a force in the Syracuse art scene.  I am so glad to see that she was recognized here.

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You know, every generation thinks they invented the arts in a way.  You know what I mean – kids think they are way cooler than their parents or their teachers….  What I love about this show is how these women from the earlier days were able to create art at all and get recognized – in a time when they were expected to be wives and mothers first and foremost.  They were true creative trailblazers!  Like the woman whose husband was a firefighter and she sometimes accompanied him to a fire resulting in paintings.  Or the woman who painted the Syracuse Savings Bank for her relative who worked there.

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There’s a marble sculpture and block prints, watercolors, oils and charcoal portraits. Mostly portraits and landscapes.  Betty Munro was a landscape artist.  A watercolor of hers is part of this show and there are more originals for sale in the gift shop.  It is really incredible to see these beautiful pieces for sale (only $425-$575 unframed).  They are images depicting downtown Syracuse landmarks, which would be perfect for the walls of any businesses still located in the vicinity!

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I loved viewing this show and imagining one of my abstract pieces alongside the rest of these talented artists’ work.  Someday….  Am I worthy?  Maybe that is part of my dream. To be recognized internationally just so that my hometown can someday acknowledge me as one of Syracuse’s best.  Now that is something I truly would love to manifest.

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The OHA is located at 321 Montgomery Street, Syracuse, NY 13202.  They are open Wednesday-Friday 10am-4pm and Saturday and Sundays 11am-3:30pm (Closed Monday and Tuesday).  Call (315) 428-1864 for more information.  Find their website here.  You can donate or become a member, or even volunteer as a docent.  It is such an amazing place! They do a lot of student field trips and have an archive you can search.  I am very interested in locating an old picture of my house, which was built in 1900. That would be very cool.

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The Karen Section of Town

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Those of you who knew me in the ’90s know this about me, but for the rest of you, let me paint you a picture of what my life was like.  I taught art at a middle school that was an hour drive from home, so a typical Friday looked like this:  get up at 5:30 am, leave the house at 6:30 to be at work at 7:30; work until 3:30 pm, get home at 4:30; go to the gym for two hours.  Clean my room (or not).

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At around 10:00 pm, I would drive to Armory Square.  No plans – I just knew my friends would be out.  They always started at a bar called Witherspoon’s (not there anymore), and somehow we would hop around until 2:00 am then go to a Denny’s.  So I would pretty much do a twenty-four hour day!

Crazy times.

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But before that – in the ’80s…dating myself…I worked at Bryant & Stratton teaching Fashion Merchandising.  Yes, I was a professor.  I used to frequent Armory Square when it was a sort of derelict meets artsy neighborhood.  There was a frame shop on the corner of the main intersection called I’ve Been Framed (where I met a very beautiful guy named Mike).  I got my bed (that I still sleep in) at the Antique Underground on E. Fayette St. at a basement shoppe that reeked of mold, lol.

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When I told my cousin Nick the story of how I got a flat tire on E. Fayette Street (nearly thirty years ago) across from what is now The Black Olive restaurant – how there was no one to help me.  Every man who walked by was either blind or crippled, or missing an arm it seemed.

It was just super weird, I know.  And there were no cell phones, so I tried calling for help from the pay phone but the line was busy because there was also no call-waiting back then.  I should also preface this by saying it was raining that day and I was wearing a white linen suit complete with a pencil skirt, stockings and heels…and I am still unwilling to learn how to change a flat tire, lol…. When I got one this past summer, I still called my dad.  One of these days I should get AAA….

Anyhow, to make a short story long, as I have been known to do, in around 1986 or ’87, Nick started calling Armory Square the Karen section of town.

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The Karen section of town has changed a lot since then.  Lots of restaurant chains, as well as local haunts that are GREAT.  There’s a Starbucks and a Subway along with Kitty Hoynes, Blue Tusk, Empire Brewing Company, Pastabilities, The Bistro Elephant….

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There’s Jet Black, an amazing clothing shop where I bought my very first Trina Turk top, which is still one of my favorites to this day (bought in ’98 or ’99).  And now (drum roll)- THERE IS AN ART CO-OP CALLED ARMORY ARTWORKS!

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They had a grand opening that I missed, even though it said I went to it on Facebook.  I click that I am going everywhere and I don’t always follow through.  But I rectified that today.

My friend Janine and I took a stroll around the block, had lunch at the Empire Brewing Company and visited the gallery.

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The address is 136 Walton Street, Syracuse, NY.  It is an upstairs venue so I am going to say I do not think it is handicapped-accessible.  I mean, I did not remember seeing an elevator.  But if that is not an issue, once upstairs you will find an array of decorative and functional pieces by local artists.

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From what I understand, there are a couple of ways one can join the co-op. There is a $120 per month cover to be a member.  There is also a part-time scenario where you help (wo)man the place, ring register, and allow a 40% commission off sales of your art.

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Hours of operation:

11:00 am – 6:00 pm  Monday-Wednesday

11:00 am – 7:00 pm  Thursday

11:00 am – 8:00 pm  Friday-Saturday

noon – 5:00 pm  Sunday

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It is really beautifully merchandised and the prices are surprisingly reasonable.  Several of my friends are selling work there – Barbara Vural, Wendy Harris, Amy Bartell.  You can get art that has been printed on notecards for only $3.00 each or four for $10.00.   I usually do this then put the cards in frames if I cannot afford the originals.  It’s a great way to start an art collection.

Bracelets for under $40.00; hand-made sweaters, scarves, pottery, paintings, prints, you name it!  There’s really something for everyone!

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If you haven’t yet purchased original art for your home, I really urge you to do so.  There’s nothing better than owning something made with love, something made by a neighbor.  I don’t know – the comaraderie of friendship is a great gift, I think.  There is so much good here that I feel like we all benefit from the experience.

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So, if you find yourself in the Karen section of town, please visit this amazing place!  And if you get there soon, you’ll have a chance at a $25 gift certificate prize – no purchase necessary!

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For more information, call them at (315) 870-3408 or visit their website armoryartworks.com

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They are also on Facebook – find them here.

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Pizza & Art

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I’m not much of a drinker – I have a glass of wine socially, maybe, like, once a month (if that). I don’t really love the way it tastes and it gives me a headache afterwards so it’s not my “cup of tea”.  And for that matter, alcohol in general.

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I don’t eat bread or cheese.  I don’t like spicy foods or garlic….  For these obvious reasons and probably others of which I am not yet fully aware, I rarely date Italian men for very long periods of time, lol.  No wine, pasta, or pizza…no ice cream either.   Am just not an Italian foodie, or foodie in general.

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So what was I doing at a pizza-themed art show last night?

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Yeah – there was a pop-up art exhibition last night at Spark gallery on Fayette Street in Syracuse, New York.  Called The Passion of the Crust.

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A tenner got me in to see pizza paintings and sculptures.

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Many were painted on these pizza paddles.  I loved the concept!  It reminded me of a Project Runway fashion design challenge, only with artwork.

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This would be a great art lesson for my Studio in Art students (or at least a sketchbook homework assignment)!

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Some of the interpretations were kind of macabre…

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And some quite literal.

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Because it had been planned for the day after Christmas, many used religion to get their pizza messages across…

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It really was a great concept.  Dozens of artists sharing work on the walls in the gallery space.  Music and pizza slices available in the back room.

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A lot of the pieces had sold tickets on them, which was great, but unfortunately, there was no literature available as to making future purchases.  I guess that is the very nature of a one-night only event. It’s kind of like a happening of sorts and I commend these artists on making this event happen.  Syracuse has some really cool artsy people and part of what I am attempting to do with this blog is to make everyone aware of that.  To bring the art scene to the public in a way that the regular Joe can understand it, like it, buy it, live with it, love it, etc.

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The only person I knew there was Steve Nyland (above with the blue hair).  He is an artist and art curator who lives and works in Syracuse and in Utica, New York.  He said that many of these artists were from the Utica area.

Steve is curating a Star Wars and Star Trek art-themed show at the Syracuse Tech Garden next month!  (Perfect timing, don’t you think?)

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I really hope they decide to take this show on the road – like, get it seen in other venues, maybe a pizza shoppe or two.  Get it resurrected?  Call it The Dough Also Rises.  Tastes like a plan….

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Field Tripping

On Friday, I took my Studio in Art students on a field trip to three locations.  It was a tight schedule that we stuck to like organized folk and not the fickle dreamers people imagine we are.

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The first stop was the Community Folk Art Gallery on Genesee St. in Syracuse, NY, where we toured the facility – we saw student art studios where high school portfolios are prepared for Scholastic Art awards and where kids get the benefit of learning from some of the premiere artists living locally, like ceramist David McDonald.  There was also a dance studio, a black-out performance room and in the gallery space, the magnificent photo collage/assemblage pieces by Najee Dorsey, who gave a talk the night before and was supposed to be at the gallery that day but we couldn’t stay.

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I didn’t want to leave, to tell you the truth.  I would have LOVED to have met him. The narratives within these works told stories of pain and triumph, and were saturated with incredible pink hues that left you, really, in awe of his mastery of the media.  I am always amazed by the passion a self-taught artist brings to the table.  It is a fearlessness mixed with passion.

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We learned that the story of the Lone Ranger was based on an African slave who escaped imprisonment, befriended American Indians and later become a Sheriff.  And that another woman, who is still alive today, paralleled Rosa Parks’ infamy with another back-to-front-of-the-bus challenge as a fifteen-year-old girl, to help change the injustices of the laws in the South.

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Next we moved to the James Rosenquist show and the private holdings of the Syracuse University Art Gallery at Shafffer Hall on SU campus, a space that not enough people in this city even realize is there.  I mean, no one else was even visiting aside from our group and they, apparently, have a bigger art collection (majority of it: prints) than the Everson Museum of Art has.

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I learned that Rosenquist is a frail eighty-one, and that is why he did not attend the opening reception last month.  We  discovered more about his journey, which made me love him all the more.  When you see the work in this manner, you really recognize its value and contribution to Pop Art and to the art world in general.

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Assistant director Andrew Saluti’s knowledge took the cake.  Again, a sense of passion for his job and for the art in his charge.  It was such a profound experience for me.  Sharing it with my students was something I really wanted to make happen and I did that – but you know how kids are.  When I asked them their favorite part of the trip, they all said McDonald’s, which was our lunch break destination (in Cazenovia, NY) before we settled at the top of the Stone Quarry Art Park hill.

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Yes, we ran around the park in the cold rain – of course, it rained during the outside portion of our day, while remaining completely sunny in Chittenango, NY.  That is the law of dumb luck.  But I knew that they were having a blast experiencing the sculptures along the way, one in particular looking like a house from Smurf village with a tiny igloo style entrance they took turns climbing into, as though they were entering a clown car, because I don’t understand how on Earth they all fit in there – it was Tardis-like in that way.  (And yes – it’s always important to throw in an obscure Dr. Who reference now and again.)

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And yes, I know they got a lot out of that packed with art-filled day. Some more than others.  Field trips are the stuff of legend.  They really bond you in ways that are pretty profound and this fifteen student community of artists are some of the best kids I have ever worked with.

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We got back in time for dismissal, so it was probably the best field trip ever in terms of both information and time management, as well as fun.  Thank you so much to everyone who helped me make this happen.  It was just so amazing to show up at a venue and have them ready and waiting for us – and so excited to see us!  If you are an art teacher in the area, you should definitely plan a day like this if you can.  The galleries were so accommodating, each with their own sensational contribution to the landscape of the arts in the Syracuse area!

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