June 15, 2011 — The public is invited to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday, June 21, 2011, at 508 Wiley Street, performed by Mayor David Roefaro in concert with a representative of the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida County, and Board President Victoria Mele Zacek, to celebrate the completion of the new Sculpture Space artists’ residence at that address, only one block from the internationally acclaimed studio.
With support from community residents and the distinguished Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, Sculpture Space purchased and renovated the house, formerly an apartment building. Chuck Tomaselli of C. Lewis Architects designed the architectural reconfiguration, and local contractor Greg Benincasa of HR Beebe, Inc. volunteered his time to serve as pro bono construction manager, working closely with Steve James of Dick Tile and Marble Co., a past president of Sculpture Space.
The City of Utica, through the Department of Urban and Economic Development, contributed a $20,000 grant for façade improvements for the building that included replacing vintage fenestration with new energy efficient windows. The façade program is a federally funded program that supports federally funded community development block grants.
The Community Foundation awarded a $13,862 grant towards a security system and energy efficient heating in 2010. Previously, in 2009 the Foundation awarded a $40,000 grant to help with the purchase of the property, that was facilitated by volunteer support from board member F.X. Matt of the Matt Law Firm and John Brown of Coldwell Faith Properties.
Housing visiting artists-in-residence year round in the community for two-month stints has been an ongoing challenge for the non-profit Sculpture Space, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, noted Executive Director Sydney Waller. “We are grateful for generous help from a broad cross-section of the community,” Waller stated. “Support included outstanding generous individuals as well as the remarkable Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties and of course the City of Utica.”
The ceremony also marks the unveiling of a 35th anniversary fence art project at the same address, a collaboration among Syracuse artist-consultant Mary Giehl, the local Kids Oneida, Inc. and Sculpture Space volunteers. Young artists dyed and embedded fabric in the chain link fence to create a number of colorful unique tableaux, which are on view for the rest of the year. The fence can also be viewed from the Polish Community Center parking lot.
The public is also invited to attend a works-in-progress program and reception following the ceremony from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Sculpture Space studio, 12 Gates Street, only one block away from the artists’ residence. The community will have the opportunity to view exciting sculptural contemporary work in a wide range of media created by emerging professional visiting artists, Asuka Goto (Brooklyn, NY), and Olivia Robinson (De Ruyter, NY) and an interactive audience –participation performance installation by Jongsun-Jay Lee (Brooklyn, NY). These artists have spent up to two months at Sculpture Space making new art.
The reception is sponsored by John Aiken of JCA of Utica, Inc. The restaurant sponsor is The Lotus Garden Noodle and Sushi House on 339 Bleecker Street in Utica. Area musician Michael Patrei and his band “The Swordfish Trombones” will perform in collaboration with artist-in-residence Jongsun Lee, who will present an interactive “rice” performance. Her performances involve body movement and sound. gsun Lee, who will present an interactive “rice” performance. Her performances involve body movement and sound.