OSWEGO — New art exhibitions beginning in April at Oswego State Downtown and at SUNY Oswego Metro Center in Syracuse will explore identity as expressed through portrayals of hometown communities.
Oswego State Downtown, corner of West First and Bridge streets in Oswego, will host “Central Perspective: Where, Who and What We Are” from April 1 to May 13.
At SUNY Oswego Metro Center in the Atrium Building on Syracuse’s Clinton Square, “Creatively Exploring Place, Self & Collective Identity” will run April 5 to May 25.
The collaboration of SUNY Oswego and Mohawk Valley and Finger Lakes community colleges will feature artwork of the colleges’ students and that of area high school students working with photographer Elias Williams.
The Oswego State Downtown exhibition — the latest in the Downtown Artist Series — will host a free public reception from 5 to 7 p.m. April 15, presenting cross-disciplinary student reflections on the artwork: a graphic design by art major Clair Chiarelli, a poem by creative writing major Ryann Crofoot and a composition by music major David Manke.
The “Central Perspective” project at Oswego State Downtown asked participants to use artistic expression to explore identity on both the individual level as well as the community level.
Students enrolled in courses in the SUNY Oswego art department were asked to tell the story of the region from the inside, as the story of “Us,” or from the outside, as the story of “You.”
Whether an insider or an outsider, students were asked to work together to create narratives that integrate reconstructions of the past, perceptions of the present and musings on the future.
In the SUNY Oswego Metro Center exhibition, the collaborating colleges wanted to work within communities struggling under the weight of change and shifting economic/demographic realities.
The objective of the project is to provide a window through which students, from kindergarten to college, who live in Central and Upstate New York can use creative expression to communicate a sense of who they are and what it means to live in their community.
The heart of the project is based on D.P. McAdams life-story model of identity.
This theory of narrative identity holds that individuals form an identity by integrating their life experiences into an internalized, evolving story of the self, which provides the individual with a sense of unity and purpose in life.
Flexible by design, the project created space for participants to contribute in ways that make sense for them and their communities.
Whether through written stories/narratives, documentary/experimental forms, expressive works or mixed media, the project supports collectively constructing a malleable picture of place that is woven from the creative expression of its citizens.
“Creatively Exploring Place, Self & Collective Identity” also will feature photographs created by area high school students working with Williams, a documentary and portrait photographer whose work focuses on everyday life and adding value to depreciated communities and cultures of people of color.
Williams and Peter Cardone, visiting assistant professor of art at SUNY Oswego, will offer a series of environmental portraiture workshops at the SUNY Oswego Metro Center and Oswego County High School.
“Central Perspective” and “Creatively Exploring Place, Self & Collective Identity” are two of many art-driven projects focusing on Central New York thanks to funding received from the SUNY Research Foundation through the Arts and Humanities of Excellence Network.
Gallery hours at Oswego State Downtown are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.
Call 216-4985 for information on variable morning and evening hours.
SUNY Oswego Metro Center is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
Call 399-4100 for information on variable evening and weekend hours.