Community-wide symposium to explore art with a social conscience April 22-24 at Syracuse University
Community-wide symposium to explore art with a social conscience April 22-24 at Syracuse UniversityApril 08, 2008Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
Workers, labor activists, scholars, musicians, artists, filmmakers and writers will gather at Syracuse University April 22-24 to celebrate and explore art with a social conscience during the 2008 Ray Smith Symposium, “Artworks: The Role of the Arts in U.S. Workers’ Struggles.” SU’s College of Arts and Sciences Humanities Council is presenting the symposium with support from the Gifford Foundation and in collaboration with the CNY Labor Federation, CNY Worker Justice Center, SEIU Local 119, SEIU 200 United and other grass-roots organizations. The symposium will include musical and dramatic performances, film showings, readings and panel discussions. All events are free and open to the public. A complete schedule is available on the Web at http://artworks.syr.edu.
“The 2008 Ray Smith Symposium exemplifies SU’s long-term commitment to developing richer and stronger relationships with a number of community organizations,” says John Burdick, professor of anthropology in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. “It is our sincere hope that people from all over Central New York will be able to participate in all or some of these events and that we will all be enriched by what we see, hear and learn from our experiences.”
- “Strength from the Roots/Fuerza de la Raiz,” a benefit concert featuring Latin-American acoustic guitarist Francisco Herrera and bilingual singer-songwriter Colleen Kattau, Sunday, April 20, at 4:30 p.m. at Plymouth Congregational Church, 232 E. Onondaga St., Syracuse; donations will benefit the Syracuse Workers Rights Center; and
- “Who We Are,” a play written and performed by SU workers from SEIU 200 United, Tuesday, April 22, from noon-1 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel.
Art Works opening ceremony“Working: A Celebration of Syracuse Workers in Words, Photography and Music” will be held Tuesday, April 22, from 7-9 p.m. in Maxwell Auditorium, Maxwell Hall. The event will feature music by Herrera; singer-song writer Tom Juravich, professor of labor studies and director of the Labor Center at the University of Massachusetts; and readings from “Working: An Anthology of Writing and Photography” (SU Press/New York City Community Press, 2008). The book is a collection of stories and photographs of daily life as told by workers who live in Syracuse. Their photographs and writings give testimony to the struggles workers face in the global economy.
Keynote eventThe symposium keynote speaker is Esther Cohen, executive director of the New York City-based Bread and Roses workers’ cultural project. She will present “A Visual History of Workers Lives,” Wednesday, April 23, from 7-9 p.m. in the Physics Building, Stolkin Auditorium. The evening celebration will include musical performances.
Other symposium highlights:
- Film screenings: Screenings of “A Day’s Work, A Day’s Pay,” co-directed by Kathy Leichter, and “Hammering it Out,” and “Transnational Tradeswomen,” both produced by activist Vivian Price. “A Day’s Work, A Day’s Pay” documents the efforts of three welfare recipients in New York City from 1997-2000 to transform the city’s welfare-to-work program — which forced them to work at city jobs below prevailing wages — into programs to help them move off of welfare and into the mainstream workforce, Tuesday, April 22, 1-2 p.m. in Rooms 304 A, B and C of the Hildegarde and J. Myer Schine Student Center. “Hammering it Out” spotlights women involved in the Century Freeway Women’s Employment Project in Los Angeles, and “Transnational Tradeswomen” documents current and historical roles of women in the construction industry in Asia, Wednesday, April 23, 1-2 p.m. in Rooms 304 A, B and C of the Schine Student Center.
- Syracuse University Special Collections workshops: “Visual Arts and Labor Activism,” a presentation of materials of 20th-century artists related to labor and arts, including works by Fred Ellis, Hugo Gellert, Diego Rivera and photographer Margaret Bourke White, Tuesday, April 22, 1-2 p.m.; “The Written Word and Labor Activism,” the story of the labor movement as portrayed through novels, poetry, drama and song, Wednesday, April 23, 1-2 p.m. Both workshops will be held in the Antje Bultman Lemke Seminar Room, 6th floor. E.S. Bird Library. Pre-registration is required. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Panel discussions: A series of panel discussions will be held between April 22 and 23, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. in Rooms 304 A, B and C of the Schine Student Center. The panels will feature guest presenters Kathy Leichter, co-director of “A Day’s Work, A Day’s Pay”; Marty Pottenger, performance artist and writer and director of the Abundance Project; Mike Alewitz, internationally renowned muralist and labor movement activist; Nick Pollard, board member of FED — an alliance of working-class writers in Great Britain; Anne Marie Taliercio, president and business manager of UNITE HERE Local 150; and Jan Cohen-Cruz, director of Imagining America and University Professor at SU, among others.
The Ray Smith Symposium Series was established in 1989 as the result of a bequest from the estate of SU alumnus Ray W. Smith ’21 to support symposia on topics in the humanities in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences. Born in Auburn, Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at SU and a master’s degree at Columbia University. He worked as a public school administrator in Central and Upstate New York and retired in Buffalo.