CNY Arts Covenant launches as part of ArtsWeek

The CNY Arts Covenant held its official launch last Friday on the first day of ArtsWeek at City Hall Commons downtown, in partnership with the monthly city-wide arts night network Th3, Syracuse University's Office of the Chancellor's community outreach and LeMoyne College.

The Arts Covenant asks people to support local art and culture by keeping four agreements over the course of a year: to buy at least three pieces of locally-made art, to attend at least one performance or exhibit of an art from another culture, to attend at least one performance or exhibit of an art form that you usually don't prefer, and to take some new action to participate in arts institutions. The Arts Covenant maintains a Facebook page as well as a Web site, artscovenant.com.

The noon-time ceremony began in front of Brendan Rose's Tectonic Hand sculpture, whose installation marked the opening of last year's ArtsWeek. A sudden furious shower forced proceedings inside the glass-domed Commons after Sally Green performed a welcoming French horn fanfare. AC coordinator Mary Stanley noted the symbolism of the open hand and the palm print -- a universal gesture of welcome and peace, the most ancient "signature" as demonstrated by the prehistoric cave paintings, and often the first artwork that children engage in. She asked those present to "sign" the Arts Covenant quilt with their palm print as a mark of their participation in the project.

Decals with the AC logo and a postcard on which people can track their agreements were available. The first 50 people who complete the four agreements are eligible to receive a tee-shirt with the logo. The AC logo was recently chosen through an online contest hosted by the Post-Standard. WAER FM 88.3 has also signed on as a media sponsor to the project.

Inside City Hall Commons, about 150 people were entertained by a dramatic monologue from Milton Loayza, a capella spirituals from Marcia Hagen and Sonita Surratt, and several numbers by the Media Unit from their production of "The Wiz." Besides a crowd of Say Yes to Education! Students, those present included local arts leaders Th3 coordinator Amy Komar and chair Patrice Fitzsimmons, Everson Museum director Steven Kern, Bill Delavan, Stephen Butler of the Cultural Resources Council, and representatives from the Community Folk Art Center, ArtRage Gallery, Redhouse Arts Center, and Sparkytown Restaurant & Gallery, as well as mayoral candidate Stephanie Miner, Common Council district candidate Fanny Villareal, a representative of Congress member Dan Maffei and State Sen. John DeFrancisco.

City Parks and Rec will display the AC quilt throughout the week and during next weekend's Family Frendzy events downtown, where the Arts Covenant will have a table on Saturday for others wishing to sign up and get decals and postcards.

This article appears in the July 30, 2009 issue of the Syracuse City Eagle on page 3. Nancy covers the arts. Reach her at nancykeeferhodes@gmail.com.

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