A recently installed Connective Corridor public art project invites the public to interact to complete it.
“Let Us Continue” is a beautiful vector art mural that provides a visual timeline of Syracuse’s civic and social history, focusing on the legacy of public works projects such as the Erie Canal.
Located at the intersection of two modern day public projects – the Onondaga Creekwalk and the Connective Corridor – the 32 foot mural spans a wall adjacent to the SU Warehouse. The work features a historic timeline highlighting important projects and leaders that helped define the city, as well as a portion with a write-able surface where guided questions prompt people to engage in a public dialogue about the future of the city. The community is invited to visit the mural and write their hopes and dreams for Syracuse as part of the interactive project, essentially “continuing” the timeline.
The mural was one of ten innovative education and preservation projects funded statewide last year through the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. The grants are aimed at inspiring people to learn more about New York’s legendary canals and further explore the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.
“American cities are always in a constant state of change and Syracuse is no exception,” says Quinton Fletchall, VPA G’15 who researched and designed the mural. “The first major wave of development, in terms of population and commerce, came by way of the Erie Canal, and Syracuse continued to have a rich history of growth. But like many post-industrial cities, it has been challenged to redefine itself. This mural is a great opportunity to reflect on Syracuse’s legacy and to engage the community in a dialogue about its future.”
Fletchall worked in partnership with local graphic designer Nathan Li, SU design faculty and Daniel Ward, Curator of the Erie Canal Museum who also chairs the City of Syracuse Public Art Commission. The Erie Canal Museum has been a collaborator with the Connective Corridor on two other public art projects. One is the S.Alt mural by SU School of Architecture faculty and students featuring an Erie Canal landing scene comprised of QR codes of cultural and heritage venues located along the Corridor. The other is “Mule Days of Summer,” a public art mural installed last summer on the Erie Canal Museum, funded through the Connective Corridor’s façade improvement program. That mural, by Buffalo based artist Kelly Curry, overlooks the streetscape that once would have been the Erie Canal, spanning six window-like panels and depicting what the famous waterway would have looked like in the 1800s
“This project is a unique and engaging addition to public art in downtown Syracuse,” said Owen Kerney, Assistant Director, City Planning, Syracuse – Onondaga County Planning Agency, who worked with SU’s Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development on the project. “The project’s story of innovation and place-making is important to the City as we continue to advance civic projects. I look forward to seeing the different concepts that emerge from community members.”
“It is exceptionally gratifying to help Syracuse University students achieve early success in their careers with creative projects like this one,” said Marilyn Higgins, Vice-President of Community Engagement and Economic Development at Syracuse University and a Commissioner of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.
“We at the Erie Canal Museum are excited to partner with the Connective Corridor on this mural both as a unique opportunity to celebrate the history of the Erie Canal and the many innovations born of Syracuse, and as a public interactive to reinvigorate an innovative future orientation in our community,” said Daniel Ward.
Erie Canalway Executive Director Bob Radliff added, “These projects help us capitalize on our exceptional heritage. We’re proud to work in partnership with our grantees to pass on the legacy of the Erie Canal through education, architecture, and cultural expression.”