Community Symbolic Tree

The second element of my art project was to serve as the artistic director of a Symbolic Tree painted by residents of our community that depicted the creative vision of Onondaga County. My goal was to promote harmony and a feeling of identity and purpose among the members of our community, as well as to share the right techniques on how to successfully execute a painting.

Each Saturday for six months starting in April, I set up the canvas in the participating libraries throughout Onondaga County (SEE BELOW FOR A LIST OF LIBRARIES, DATES AND TIMES) and invited its residents to sign up to participate in the painting process by contacting me via email.

My very last stop was at the Petit Branch Library at 105 Victoria Pl in Syracuse, NY on Saturday, November 1 from 11.30  p.m. to 2.30 p.m. and the last two Onondaga county residents putting their creative energies into the Symbolic Tree were artist and program manager at NorthSide UP, Stasya Erickson and nurse, Lynne Odell.

What's going to happen to this piece now?

I will add the final details to complete the painting.

The Symbolical Tree and the Onondaga County tree paintings will be shown together in an art exhibition at the Onondaga Free Library, 4840 West Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse, New York 13215, and it will run from Saturday, March 14 to Tuesday, March 31. The opening reception will take place on Saturday, March 14th 2015, from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m..

Many exiting things will happen during the opening reception. The eight winning contestants of the Best Onondaga County Tree Photo Challenge will receive the 1st limited edition print of the painting based on their photo, the community Symbolical Tree will be unveiled and donated to the library hosting this exhibition, and Tom Howards, a member of the Native Tree Society (NTS), will give a short presentation about our Onondaga county trees!

Save the date, I hope to see you there!

Winners of the Best Onondaga County Tree Photo Challenge

Last year, I received the Individual Artist Commission Grant from the CNY Arts 2014 Decentralization Program to engage Onondaga County residents in an interactive art project that promoted nature appreciation and community involvement in artistic creation.

In the first part of the art project, my goal was to emotionally engage the community by asking Onondaga County residents to go into nature, find the most beautiful trees in our county, and send their suggestions to me with a photo. I selected eight trees from those sent to me, and I used them as reference in the creation of eight acrylic paintings on canvas.

So, without further ado, the recipient of the eight winning photos are:

Ray Trudell with Magnolia trees from Syracuse, NY;

Bryan Hills with an unknown tree from Oren, NY;

Deborah Goemans with a Magnolia tree from Tully, NY;

Dan Elsbey with a Dark Cherry tree from Camillus, NY;

Steven Marrone with a Willow tree from Syracuse, NY;

Tom Howard with an Old Sugar Maple tree from Liverpool, NY;

Mary Mollica with a Maple tree from Dewitt, NY;

and Ellen Leahy with a Gingko tree from Skaneateles, NY.

The submission’s deadline was October 31, 2014. I used different traditional media and social media platforms to promote this interactive project, such as Facebook, Twitter and e-mail blasts.

In the next blog post I will talk about the second element of my interactive art project and then, each week,  I will start writing about the eight winners of the Best Onondaga County Tree Photo Challenge. I will share who they are, what they do and why they were compelled to photograph these particular trees. Along with the winners' story, I will share the artistic journey of each painting that was based on their photos.