Getting to Know You at 601 Tully
In a part of Syracuse that is working toward resurgence, springs a flower in the concrete at 601 Tully Art Gallery. Getting to Know You, the new featured exhibition, focuses on human interaction and communication. In addition to providing Syracuse with stimulating art, intellectual nourishment and engaging entertainment, 601 Tully is also home to two programs for middle school students, where children often pass through -- bringing life and art into the gallery as they engage with the space and one another.
Getting to Know You is exactly what it sounds like, yet the means for visitors to get to know one another are quite unique. The exhibition begins with a collaboration between Gabe Mugar, a doctoral candidate in the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University, and Anda French, an assistant professor at the School of Architecture at Syracuse University. The installation features an interactive kiosk where people can sign up for CampusNeighbor, a bartering website for community members and university students to share their skills with one another. For example, a student may want to learn how to play the guitar and a Syracuse resident wants to learn Spanish. The two people will directly share their skills at the Bartering Event which will be held at the gallery on Saturday, April 5 from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm. In addition to interacting with the website, people can engage the structure known as SoundLogic, created by French. Visitors are invited to tell the computer what they can offer and their wants and needs which will then be replayed in a whispering voice throughout the duration of the exhibition.
According to the 601 Tully website, one of the goals of this bartering activity is to “help to dismantle barriers” between the students at Syracuse University and community residents, offering an opportunity for these communities to foster new relationships. Additionally, there are plans to have a kiosk on the Syracuse college campus to add greater community and university involvement.
Jillian Nakornthap, 601 Tully curator, the installation helps round out the rest of the exhibition, which focuses on interpersonal relationships within the community, along with the use of technology. The exhibition explores whether technology and social media fosters better communication and authentic connections.
Another component of the exhibition is Fanny Allie’s Coffee Shop Stories. This was a clever way to help people learn to put down their mobile devices, look around at the world around them and observe the nuances of life. The French artist collected a collection of note cards at a coffee shop in New York City, asking participants to focus on someone and write down what that person was doing. Allie stressed the importance of becoming observers and even being “observees”. Allie submitted 100 post cards that people filled out about their coffee shop neighbors. Out of these 100, Nakornthap chose 30. These cards become great opportunities for dialogue and enriching stories.
"It's the bits and pieces of getting to know people here," said Nakornthap referencing the pieces of Allie's work included in the gallery.
Getting to Know You at 601 Tully is full of interactive pieces that ask the participant to think about how technology and our digital lives can foster deeper connections in the real world. The exhibition makes for not only an engaging time with new faces, but also becomes an artistic living experience, bringing people together from the Near West Side neighborhood of Syracuse to engage with other locals and members of the Syracuse University community. There are opportunities throughout the exhibition for visitors to be part of the exhibition. For example postcards asks people to answer a question like “If you could give one advice, what would it be,” and post it to Instagram using #gtky601tully.
The exhibition runs through April 24. There is an Artists’ reception, Friday, February 7 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
There are several other activities that are part of Getting to Know You, for more information and a full listing of events, gotocnyarts.org.
Don’t miss out on a fun and engaging time to meet your neighbors at 601 Tully!
Photo Credits: image 1 CampusNeighbor+SoundLogics: BART, 2014