Two Syracuse University projects have received 2018 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awards. Glenn Wright, director of Graduate School Programs, and Vivian May, director of the Humanities Center and professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, received funding to enhance doctoral training for humanities Ph.D.s in…
Syracuse Poster Project Presents ‘Splash Poetry’
The Syracuse Poster Project, a nonprofit civic arts organization, wants to brighten up your cloudy days.
For the past 16 years, the Poster Project has partnered with local poets and Syracuse University illustration students to create an annual series of poster art about the City of Syracuse. These posters, including the recently unveiled 2017 posters, have traditionally hung in the kiosks along Salina and Warren Streets downtown.
In addition to the poster format, for the first time in a creative new venture, the Poster Project has temporarily stenciled a collection of its popular haiku poetry onto downtown sidewalks, kind of like street chalk. The catch? You can’t see them. On a normally dry or sunny day, that is.
Why would a group so interested in the power of the written word want to hide its work? Well, by randomly viewing the poetry only in wet conditions, it reflects the meaning and intent of haiku, which is to evoke a deep or profound realization about a topic as read in a specific environment. In this case, Syracuse is the muse.
Since people tend to be desensitized to text the more they see it in the same places everyday, the Poster Project hopes to avoid that. By appearing only when it rains, the haiku will also help brighten the bleak feelings that arise from our unseasonable weather.
Some haiku topics will be specific to downtown areas while others will be more open to interpretation, but they all will evoke an affirmative feeling about the city of Syracuse for all ages. Since haiku are limited to only three short lines of verse, each poem is simple and concise in making a comment on life in Syracuse or its rich cultural heritage. Through use of a special biodegradable spray material that fades over time, this interactive experience won’t be around for long. Typically, street art like this can last anywhere from two to four months depending on the weather.
Can’t wait until the next rainy day to see this project? Simply download a map found on the Poster Project’s website (www.posterproject.org) to find all ten “Splash Poetry” haiku. Remember to bring your own bottled water. Illustrated poster prints featuring each of the haiku are also available for purchase on the project’s website.
The idea for “Splash Poetry” originated from Syracuse Poster Project board members Joseph Murphy and Jason Evans in partnership with the Syracuse Public Arts Commission. Murphy, a freelance illustrator and member of the New York City Society of Illustrators, has served with the Poster Project for five years. He was a former poster artist for the organization, illustrating Coleman’s Pub on Tipperary Hill. Evans, an architect, has only recently joined the board but is no stranger to site specific art installations. He is responsible for creating the Arterie and Flowscape art murals downtown as well as the Hanover Square Bike Plant Rack.