About 601 Tully

Check out our new website! 601Tully.syr.edu

601 Tully is a center for engaged practice in Syracuse, NY developed by artist and professor Marion Wilson with a rotating collaborative team of 54 students and neighbors and Anda French of French 2Design. It's a site for meaningful exchange between artists, community members, and scholars in the co-production of culture.

601 Tully includes a contemporary art space, a public events space, a bookstore, a teaching garden, and Recess Cafe West.

In 2009, Wilson purchased the condemned two-story home and local drug hub, and throughout five semesters, Wilson's design/build class re-zoned, designed, renovated and now sustains the physical and programmatic aspects of 601 Tully. The collaborative team has consisted of artists, architects, environmentalists, Fowler High School students, Green Train Workforce, neighbors, and the occasional passerby.

601 Tully is made possible by the generous support of the Syracuse University School of Education, The Kauffman Foundation, The Near West Side Initiative, Imagining America, Home HeadQuarters Inc., Say Yes to Education, and National Grid.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Difference and Privilege

Architects and design professionals were in the past acknowledged as the expert negotiators between art and urban spaces. The "Culture in Action" project gave this role to the "community", privileging its role in collaborative partnerships forged by the program which created models - resembling profound symbiotic forms, their organization typically non-hierarchical - for art whose engagement strategies were a part of its aesthetic language. "Culture in Action" affirmed Lacy's claim that what exists in the space between the words "public" and "art" is an unknown relationship between artist and audience, an engagement that may blur and redefine the two, which may itself be the artwork. The tensions between those two words are the basis of much of our discussion about 601 Tully. Through the conflict and negotiations between institutions and individuals, between the community as a whole and the artist/delegate, between "public" and "art", hybrid projects like 601 Tully are created, in which the smaller entities (the class) are in charge of producing newness and flexibility, while the larger entities (the politics of Syracuse) maintain the minimum of stability.

The issue of difference is critical to any understanding of identity formation, collective or otherwise, and the limitations of community-based art. 601 Tully seeks to understand these differences to better serve the community of the Near West Side, a politically coherent geographic area whose formation and development were actively controlled by politics. As a piece of 'new genre public art' 601 interacts with the audience, or community, about issues directly relevant to their lives. That is why the exact role of the place is left a little undefined, for the community to fill in the blanks later when it can understand its needs for the place better. Kwon argues that art in the public interest can and should affect social/political change. 601 Tully encourages community coalition building in pursuit of social justice while at the same time acting as the agent, a privilege granted to them by higher institutional powers. I got involved with this project as a way for me to get involved in the Syracuse community as a whole. I wanted to understand the new place I was living, and what better way than on a project that actively engages a part of it, and strives to understand the difference (and privileges) between "them" and "us". Success of community based art can be measured in the extent that the self expression of the community affirms the notion of a coherent collective subject and I hope that 601 will continue to be successful and affect the change needed by the community of the Near West Side.

I've learned from my participation in the class that the sum is always greater than the whole. Our class and the larger 601 Tully family partaking in the project are individuals making up the artistic whole. The same thing goes for the Near West Side community; it is made up of individuals each bringing something special and different to the whole. My work with 601 focuses on these individuals, rather than the whole entity, by crafting benches with care and by helping each person have a voice on the wall of drawings, all exclaiming their uniqueness. In my own work, both as an architect and an artist, I always want to be involved in the community, not to be removed from the people my work is for. Architecture is ultimately a service industry and as such I want to always be able to understand the privileges and differences between the industry, myself, and the individuals/whole of the audience.

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