The Syracuse neighborhood that has forever accepted generation after generation of immigrants receives its due in a new photography exhibit at ArtRage Gallery. In Our View: A Community Perspective is literally a homegrown exhibition, roughly 100 images taken by residents of the Hawley-Green and North Side neighborhoods. Their photos depict multiple subjects and take varied visual approaches. The show shifts from family homes to historical themes, from storefronts in Little Italy to people in a neighborhood laundry.
Glimpses of community life emerge in images of residents standing on front porches, children playing ball and recent immigrants shopping at the Regional Market. One series of photos shows people with their dogs or cats.
That’s only one segment of the exhibit’s portfolio. Several pieces deal directly with Syracuse history. Jonathan Logan’s five-photo set documents his family’s life present and past, mixing images from the family album with current-day photos. There’s a theme of continuity based on family members living on the North Side for four generations.
A second work shows the 1500 block of North Salina Street back in the
1940s when Lamanna’s Market was in business and today when Onondaga
Flooring occupies a similar location. In addition, Casey White’s photo
of a living-room scene includes several images taken by Syracuse
photographer Marjorie Wilkins. Much of her work documented the 15th
Ward, a city neighborhood largely destroyed by urban renewal and highway
Beyond that, the exhibition provides a strong sense of place with photos depicting the corner of Butternut and North Salina streets in midwinter, the statue of Civil War soldier Gustave Sniper on North Salina Street, and a building slated for demolition. There’s a sweeping view of a Hawley-Green block, as well as images of neighborhood restaurants. And Tracy Peterchak shot from behind a house, drawing the viewer’s eye to the backyard scene.
The exhibit is large enough to include a subset of such images, a group of photos focusing on light and shadows. Stasya Erickson, for example, portrays rooftops in Little Italy, depicting Assumption Church and that glorious building’s shadow gliding onto a nearby roof. In Tesfaldet Kahasay’s piece, we see both a playground and a tree’s shadow falling on the street. A third photographer, Jeff Walter, captures Little Italy late in the day, as the sky’s colors complement and contrast with the building’s hues.
Elsewhere the show displays fine images created by Andrea Hall and John Haritatos, both of whom photographed local cemeteries. It presents Cherise Hunter’s photos of Onondaga Lake and Onondaga Lake Parkway. She works in the youth program at the Northeast Community Center and took the images during an outing. A collage work references various community organizations: the center mentioned above, the Northeast Hawley Development Association, the Catholic Charities building on North Salina Street, and others.
Finally, In Our View has a backstory, the tale of how an atypical exhibit moved from planning to actually hanging the artworks. Kimberly McCoy of the ArtRage staff spent many hours contacting local organizations and encouraging people to submit their work. The gallery then held an orientation session and eight workshops at which participants could get feedback from Daniel Aguilera, a photographer and Syracuse University graduate student. Ultimately, a community panel reviewed more than 600 entries.
In the end, the show features images created by more than 40 residents, some of whom have fine-arts backgrounds and most of whom had never displayed their photos in a gallery. It portrays subjects familiar to anyone who has walked around the Hawley-Green and North Side neighborhoods but often from a slightly different perspective. Most of all, the exhibition gave its photographers the latitude to choose subjects they wanted to photograph.
In Our View is on display through July 21 at ArtRage, 505 Hawley Ave., open Wednesdays to Fridays from 2 to 7 p.m., and Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call 218-5711.