New Creative Corner at The Warehouse reflects interdisciplinary nature of Scholarship in Action vision
New Creative Corner at The Warehouse reflects interdisciplinary nature of Scholarship in Action visionFebruary 25, 2009Jemeli Tanuijetanui@syr.edu
Local organizations and Syracuse University faculty and students involved in community engagement projects can now enjoy new meeting space designed to encourage creativity and collaboration on the fourth floor of The Warehouse, 350 W. Fayette St. in downtown Syracuse.
Dubbed the Creative Corner, the multi-purpose colorful space is part of the new offices for SU’s Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development-the SU entity that leads, in collaboration with many local partners, the revitalization of the Syracuse Art, Life and Technology (SALT) District in the Near Westside neighborhood. This office also oversees the Connective Corridor, a pathway that connects and showcases the city’s and local universities’ cultural and artistic assets.
The Creative Corner and the Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development offices are adjacent to the headquarters of COLAB -the interdisciplinary initiative based in SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) that encourages students and faculty to use their diverse skills and perspectives to solve complex, real-world problems creatively and collaboratively.
The Creative Corner and similarly themed offices were designed by Chris McCray, “mad scientist” of COLAB and VPA assistant professor of interior design. McCray worked in collaboration with Marilyn Higgins, SU vice president for community engagement and economic development and president of the Near Westside Initiative board.
“Working with Marilyn was absolutely wonderful as she understood the importance of creating a dynamic environment that would be a fun, stimulating and functional work space,” says McCray. “It was important for us to work together to ensure we had cohesiveness between COLAB and the economic development space, since we share the same floor.”
Both Higgins and McCray aimed for big and flexible, and they got it with the lofty space that makes up the Creative Corner. The brightly lit open space features floor-to-ceiling windows facing westward that provide a commanding view of Syracuse’s Armory Square district. The Creative Corner, which can comfortably accommodate 50 people, can be set up for conferences, workshops and exhibitions, while a more informal sitting area featuring vibrant sofas and a coffee table offers an ideal spot for brainstorming or reflection. Staff offices feature plate glass windows facing the Creative Corner, creating a natural transition between the office and meeting areas.
“The Creative Corner provides our community and University partners a relaxed atmosphere where they can share ideas and foster the kind of innovation necessary to our neighborhood revitalization and cultural enhancement projects,” says Higgins. “We hope to have many ideas hatched in this room that will translate into practical projects leading to tangible results to meet our neighborhood challenges.”
The Creative Corner is already used by the Near Westside Initiative board, its executive committee, Connective Corridor working groups and Urban Video Project artist training sessions. The Creative Corner will also be used for fundraising, business and social functions for the SALT District and the Connective Corridor, including an upcoming Near Westside cabaret.
Currently on exhibition in the Creative Corner is “From the Ground Up: Innovative Green Homes” featuring three winning architectural models from the affordable green housing design competition held last year. The competition was hosted by SU’s School of Architecture as a SALT District project, in conjunction with the Syracuse Center of Excellence and Home HeadQuarters Inc. The winning models were created by three design teams: ARO and Della Valle Bernheimer of New York; Cook + Fox/Terrapin Bright Green of New York and Washington, D.C.; and Onion Flats (including Andropogon Associates, Rivera Structural Design and MaGrann Associates) of Philadelphia.
The Creative Corner is an addition to previously available community space at The Warehouse that includes a conference room, classroom and an art studio on the ground floor.
The Syracuse Art, Life, Technology (SALT) District of the Near Westside is directed by the Near Westside Initiative Inc. (NWSI), a not-for-profit organization. NWSI leverages the resources of the University, the state, the city, private foundations, businesses, not-for-profit corporations and neighborhood residents to achieve its goals. The mission is to use the power of art, technology and innovation, in keeping with neighborhood values and culture, to rejuvenate the area. A creative community is envisioned that will foster economic development and tourism for the City of Syracuse, jobs and stability for the neighborhood, and rich academic experiences for SU students.
For more information on news and events in the Near Westside neighborhood, check out the newly launched monthly newsletter at http://www.saltdistrict.com/enewsletters/NWSI-1-1.pdf.