Apr 07, 2011 Ami Olson Uncategorized
By design, only one of the nine projects presented at the inaugural Salt City DISHES dinner in January was awarded the $1,000 mini-grant that night.
But the remaining eight non-winners weren’t exactly left to wallow over what could have been – at least five of those projects are being brought to life anyway.
Thumbs UPstate Improv Festival
For many of the projects, the idea came first but DISHES supplied the motivation.
“I think what Salt City DISHES did for us was give an impetus to say, ‘well let’s just get this done, let’s really put together a plan and do it,'” said Mike Intaglietta, one of the co-organizers of this weekend’s Thumbs UPstate Improv Festival .
“We’re going to do this whether or not we win the grant, so let’s get a plan together and set a date,” Intaglietta remembers. He co-organized the proposal and eventual festival with Ken Keech, Vanessa Rose and Joe Blum.
When at the end of the night the improv idea hadn’t secured the DISHES funding, the group still had a hard plan for an event, so they went for it.
This weekend, their hard work will pay off when 15 different improv troupes converge at the St. Clare Theater on the North Side for two days of improv games and workshops, performances and community-building.
Troupes are traveling from Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Geneseo and Rochester, to join Syracuse-based troupes for the event, Intaglietta said.
Without the DISHES funding, the organizers’ motto became, “if not free, then cheap,” Intaglietta said. The event was primarily funded through donations.
The festival runs from 5:30 p.m. Friday April 8 to midnight Saturday April 9 at the St. Clare Theater, 1119 N. Townsend St. Doors open to the public for shows at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Most workshops are only for registered troupes, but for the novice interested in giving improv comedy a shot, an “Intro to Improv” workshop is scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Visit thumbsupstate.com for more information.
Walking on Water
Like the Thumbs UPstate organizers, Nathaniel Sullivan and Jay Muhlin already had a project in mind when the DISHES opportunity was announced.
The SU graduate students developed their idea for “Walking on Water” for an Art and Civic Dialogue course, led by local artist Carrie Mae Weems and Community Folk Art Center curator David Ross.
Part of the class includes participating in an exhibit at the CFAC, which Sullivan and Muhlin are taking outside the gallery walls on onto Water Street for a guided audio tour.
“Participants will be lent an iPod and a map of the walk, with indications of where to cue audio tracks,” said Sullivan.
The tracks will include personal accounts, subject histories and speculation of the speakers, to venture beyond the academic histories of the neighborhoods and offer “tourists” more narrative stories of the area, he said.
To add new material to the initial stories, participants will be encouraged to document their own experiences. And walkers with smart phones can take the tour using the QR codes posted throughout the tour, rather than borrowing an iPod from the CFAC.
“Being a pedestrian in a city gives you a distinct perspective of who you are in relation to where you live — from the types of interactions that it affords and the attendant encounters with difference, to the time it allows you to contemplate the urban landscape,” Sullivan said.
“You Are Here: An Intersection of Art and Civic Dialogue” runs at the Community Folk Art Center from April 8 to 22.
This week marks the launch of two great ideas that didn’t win DISHES funding, but there are even more in the works:
Last summer, Syracuse Skillshare debuted with a full day of workshops open to the community, offering lessons on a variety of topics from composting to tuning up a bicycle.
Co-organizer Rich Vallejo said the small planning committee of about six people knew they wanted to make the event annual, if not more frequent, even before the first skillshare took place.
“We would talk about, ‘when should we start planning the next one?’ and then the DISHES event came up and it sort of kicked things into gear,” Vallejo said. Not winning the mini-grant hasn’t set them back, either.
The second annual Skillshare event is in the planning stages for this summer, though the exact date won’t be set until a venue is arranged. In the meantime, organizers are hoping to hear from people with skills to share, Vallejo said.
“We didn’t have a lot of specifically ‘art’ workshops last year, so we definitely want more of that,” he added.
Have a specific talent or bit of knowledge to share?
“It’s never too soon to contact us,” Vallejo said.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved, or visit the group on Facebook .
Syracuse Community Cookbook Series
Daniel Aguilera’s multi-faceted cookbook series proposal touched a lot of bases, but one of the most prevalent was retaining family and ethnic traditions tied to food.
When Aguilera presented his idea to the DISHES crowd, he told the story of his own grandfather, who owned and operated a taco cart in Mexico for 30 years.
“It’s something I feel can be sort of a means of reintroducing healthy eating habits within family unit and also creating a closer relation between generations,” Aguilera said.
The Visual and Performing Arts graduate student will put his Syracuse Community Cookbook Series project into action this summer through the SU Photography and Literacy project, working with Syracuse high school students to document their families’ heritage meals.
Storefront for Syracuse
The Front , a student-run initiative of the SU School of Architecture, has been geared toward revitalizing downtown Syracuse through small efforts since 2008.
But things got serious last fall, when the group reorganized and laid out plans for Storefront for Syracuse, a project that would rehabilitate an already vacant commercial storefront to make it usable for exhibits, workshops and other projects.
Beyond the possibility of being chosen for the minigrant, The Front presented the Storefront for Syracuse proposal at DISHES to raise awareness of their goal, said Nilus Klingel, co-director of The Front.
“We had quite a bit of animated discussion both at the dinner and afterwards,” Klingel said. “Our contacts have doubled, with many residents we’ve never met signing up to volunteer on our future projects,” as a result of the DISHES presentation.
The Front has been busy over the last year, adding five projects to its portfolio, including the pop-up art gallery storefront for the Link text 40 Below Public Arts Task Force, a PARK(ing) Day park and a larger “flash park,” the bright green “coming soon” billboard on the 300 block of South Warren Street and now the Storefront for Syracuse project at the State Tower Building.
The next Salt City DISHES dinner will be held Sunday May 1 at the St. Clare Theater. Find out where to buy tickets in advance (the event sold out last time, so get ’em early), at saltcitydishes.blogspot.com .
A presentation will bring DISHES diners up to speed on the progress of Tonja Torgerson and Joel Weissman’s art-as-activism ceramic installation project, dubbed SUBPAR, which won the first DISHES minigrant.