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Community and University Partners Host Major Arts Festival and Conclave: CRAVE
The City of Syracuse will play host to an unprecedented arts festival and conclave this fall—the result of a major grant from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), administered by the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC).
Running Sept. 20-21, the program is titled “CRAVE,” which stands for “Cultivating Resources in the Arts for Value in Our Economy.”
CRAVE will feature multidisciplinary performances, screenings, exhibitions and “pop-up” events throughout Downtown Syracuse and near the Syracuse University campus, including the world premiere of a multimedia “Happening” by Paul D. Miller, the composer and hip-hop turntablist who performs as DJ Spooky. An artist-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Miller will be joined by various local artists, many of whom are also performing along the Connective Corridor.
CRAVE is organized and presented by the Central New York Jazz Arts Foundation (CNY Jazz), in conjunction with the Connective Corridor, a program of SU’s Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development, and with the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau. For more information, call 315-479-JAZZ or visit CRAVEfest.org.
“CNY Jazz is thrilled to partner with Syracuse University and the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau to celebrate one of our region’s greatest economic resources: the arts,” says Larry Luttinger, founder and executive director of CNY Jazz. “CRAVE will not only reiterate the economic value of the arts, but also demonstrate how the arts revitalize communities; create new benchmarks for content relevancy; plan, create and demonstrate innovative new performance models; and develop audience engagement strategies that turn fans into subscribers and subscribers into donors.”
Luttinger expects CRAVE to target multiple audiences, including mobile and tablet users. (“The smartphone generation is just beginning to tap into the possibilities of interactive art,” he says.) CRAVE will also serve as a platform for a statewide dialogue about how the arts and cultural activity can grow jobs, stimulate the economy and sustain neighborhoods. “We are using CRAVE to help define Syracuse as a forward-looking and cosmopolitan city,” says Luttinger.
David Holder, president of the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau, says the prominence of the area’s arts and cultural communities will be on full display during CRAVE. “We are anxious for CRAVE to generate immediate travel spending, while raising our future visibility and attractiveness as a community,” Holder says.
Linda Hartsock, who directs the Connective Corridor in SU’s Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development, sees this as an opportunity to showcase Scholarship in Action. “The corridor is the perfect linear stage for this multi-dimensional event, and we’re thrilled that Syracuse will be the nexus for this creative energy,” she says. “We look forward to seeing best practices in action from around the state and to learning how these models can advance community revitalization strategies.”
SU’s College of Arts and Sciences, home to the Janklow Arts Leadership Program, is one of several academic units playing an organizational role. “CRAVE exemplifies our commitment to the public humanities by providing opportunities for interdisciplinary research and engagement,” says Arts and Sciences Dean George M. Langford. “In particular, it will give our Janklow students hands-on training in strategic planning, entrepreneurial marketing and cultural tourism.”
CRAVE features three special guests who will participate in the festival and conclave:
- Miller (DJ Spooky), an experimental and electronic hip-hop musician, conceptual artist and writer who is artist in residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His work as a media artist has been featured at the Whitney Biennial, Venice Biennial and Miami/Art Basel. His first collection of essays, “Rhythm Science” (2004) was released by MIT Press.
- Sam Read, director of advancement and communications at Theatre Bay Area in San Francisco and founder of the month-long Arts Crush festival in Seattle
- Surale Phillips, president of Decision Support Partners, a national leader in collaborative community-based research supporting arts and cultural development. Phillips is also a consultant to the IDEAS Collaborative, a local consortium of foundations and government that studies and supports audience-engagement initiatives. At CRAVE, Phillips will conduct a comprehensive economic and social-impact survey whose metrics, as well as its audiovisual records, will be published after the event.
Already, CRAVE is making an impact. In April, dozens of local arts leaders converged at The Warehouse to explore new economic possibilities for the arts and cultural activity. Moderated by Read, the event looked at, among other things, best practices for increasing community participation, such as open rehearsals and interactive performances.
“I am thrilled to be working with the creative community of Syracuse in the creation of this festival,” says Read. “CRAVE represents the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that is vital to moving the arts forward in our country. Investing in the creativity of our audiences and activating our communities as collaborators in the artistic experience are both essential to the sustainability of our cultural organizations.”
CRAVE is the result of a grant that CNY Jazz received in December 2012 as part of the governor’s long-range plan to promote economic development in the region.
The fall schedule is as follows:
Friday, Sept. 20, 5-10 p.m.
CRAVE Festival: Events include Connective Corridor “Arts Bus” tours for conclave attendees and the public, plus arts activities in Armory Square and other locations along the Connective Corridor. (7-10 p.m.)
Saturday, Sept. 21, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Creators’ Conclave: A statewide invitation-only meeting at The Warehouse for content providers, arts presenters, arts councils and college and university arts faculty and students. This session will be led by Read, and will explore, demonstrate and design cultural content as an integral part of New York’s new economic strategy. Three $1,000 planning prizes will be awarded for peer-reviewed projects, which, in turn, may be further developed for production or for grant purposes by the winners.
Saturday, Sept. 21, 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.
CRAVE Festival: More than 100 free events and activities will take place throughout the day, including a “C-RAVE Symphony” flash mob; pop-up performances in restaurants; visual and performance street art; and various shows, concerts, and exhibitions. “Arts Buses” will transport attendees along the Connective Corridor, allowing them to sample interactive and family-friendly content. Some activities will support existing productions. The festival concludes with a “Happening” concert at 8 p.m., led by Miller, who is joined by a variety of guest artists.
More information about CRAVE, including conclave registration, lodging, parking, a detailed schedule and artist bios is available at CRAVEfest.org. Discount lodging at the new Courtyard by Marriott (300 West Fayette St.), adjacent to The Warehouse in Armory Square, is available until Aug. 9.