Tag Archives: Erie Canal Museum

Water is Art

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.

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photo cred – Jocelyn Reynolds

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.

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photo cred – Shane Lavelette

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.

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graphic design – Im Burrow

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.

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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

Weighlock Gallery

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.

*Details from Facebook event page

Join artist Linda Zhang and Syracuse University Professor Biko Gray at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 18 for a live, online talk about ‘The Story of Water,” an exhibit of abstract art that is at the Erie Canal Museum. It will be hosted on the Zoom meeting app. Click on this link to register and you will receive an email confirmation: .https://ryerson.zoom.us/meeting/register/u50vcuGsqTwsjUGXxhFl1-DgYZPFHN2lzA.

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!

15 Miles

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Can my life get any better?  OMG, I was in a music video today!  A bunch of us met this morning at the Erie Canal Museum, 318 Erie Boulevard East, Syracuse, New York 13202 to sing into a camera and a drone.  It was more like lip-syncing to the tune of “Low Bridge”, the ditty we all learned in 4th grade, which is about the time all New York State kids find out about the Erie Canal.  It only took an hour and a half, but it made me smile the whole day and I am still giddy about it. <3

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[excerpt from Facebook] The popular song “Low Bridge, Everybody Down” was written in 1905 by Thomas S. Allen after Erie Canal barge traffic was converted from mule power to engine power, raising the speed of traffic.

There’s an age old debate between each coast about whether the lyrics are “15 miles or 15 years”

Originally it was 15 years – but it was folk artist Pete Seeger who made the song become part of the folk repertoire and recognizable to every child in every school!

In fact, you would sing the song in class…and those days seem to have passed. So, we are asking our community to come out and sing our modernized re-imagined version!

The song will be recorded locally and utilize local musicians to create a fun easy to sing – a – long to version that James Domroe of 325 Productions will create a music video for with scenes in Clinton Square and by the Erie Canal Museum downtown!!!

Low Bridge

I’ve got an old mule and her name is Sal
Fifteen years on the Erie Canal
She’s a good old worker and a good old pal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal

We’ve hauled some barges in our day
Filled with lumber, coal, and hay
And every inch of the way I (we) know
From Albany to Buffalo

Chorus:
Low bridge, everybody down
Low bridge cause we’re coming to a town
And you’ll always know your neighbor
And you’ll always know your pal
If you’ve ever navigated on the Erie Canal

Get up there Sal, we’ve passed that lock,
Fifteen years on the Erie Canal
And we’ll make Rome before six o’clock
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal

One more trip and back we’ll go
Through the rain and sleet and snow
And every inch of the way I (we) know
From Albany to Buffalo

Low bridge, everybody down
Low bridge for we’re coming to a town
And you’ll always know your neighbor
And you’ll always know your pal
If you’ve ever navigated on the Erie Canal.

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This was the brainchild of uber-cool guy Michael John Heagerty.  His enthusiasm for this city is so infectious.  You may recognize him from the New York State Fair, riding around in The Big Yellow Fellow, a barcycle for ten.  I rode on it at the Irish Fest a few weeks ago and it was so silly fun.  I just love that I can now begin a sentence with – one time on The Big Yellow Fellow (someday I will also be able to begin a sentence with one time in Paris or one time in Milan, or one time in Mykonos…).  Michael was the man in the yellow suit minus a Curious George monkey.

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The video we made will be joined with the music track, edited and distributed to local elementary schools.  The Erie Canal is a big deal around here.  I mean, we all spend time on it – hiking, biking, rollerblading, etc., that is, the mule named Sal’s trail, not in the actual drink, although I do see people kayaking in there sometimes.

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The museum itself was fun too.  I walked around both floors and checked out their little gift shop.  They are open Monday-Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sundays 10:00 am – 3:00 pm.  Next month there is a gingerbread house contest and other festive events for the holidays.  Call (315) 471-0593 for more information or to schedule a school tour.

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