The public art of local resident Brendan Rose began with one giant open hand, palm raised, as a gesture of peaceful greeting and welcome.
The nine-foot-tall sculpture (in photo), which sits in front of Syracuse's City Hall Commons on East Washington Street, earned Rose, an alumnus of the Syracuse University School of Architecture, a special place in the local art community: As the first Syracuse Public Artist in Residence (SPAR), Rose will have 12 months to realize his vision of art as a community-driven activity, one that relies on the ears almost as much as the eyes.
"You've gotta listen to it all," he said. "The challenge is-how do you filter that through your own artistic sensibilities to produce something?"
For the past five years, Rose, an artist and architect, has worked on art as community activity with projects such as the "Art Shark" in Lipe Art Park on West Fayette St. The shark, his thesis work for his master's degree in architecture, is a sculpture made of concrete, steel and fabric canopies that stands in the center of the park.
The idea of creating a SPAR was initiated, in part, by Maarten Jacobs and Dominic Robinson, members of 40 Below, an initiative of Centerstate CEO. Jacobs has been active as part of the 40 Below Public Arts Task Force for several years, working to diversify opportunities for artists in the community.
"Brendan was selected as the inaugural SPAR largely due to his proven track record of working collaboratively with a variety of community participants to imagine, design and create provocative public art," said Jacobs.
In his appointment as SPAR, Rose will work on two public art projects. With major streetscape construction slated to occur this year along University Avenue and portions of East Genesee Street, including enhancements to Forman Park and areas adjacent to The Warehouse, Robbi Farschman, director of the Connective Corridor, was eager to include public art in the mix.