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Community Folk Art Center Introduces Online Gallery
The Community Folk Art Center (CFAC) has launched a new online gallery to enable visitors to learn more about artists from the African Diaspora and other underrepresented groups. The robust site also offers a virtual means by which former exhibiting artists, students, researchers and visitors across the country can continue to gather in the spirit of creative expression and dialogue.
The CFAC venue at 805 E. Genesee St. in Syracuse has been closed to the public since March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the closure, CFAC Executive Director Tanisha Jackson has been strategizing how the multi-arts venue could exhibit works, share supplemental programming and stay connected to its patrons. As in-person art openings, receptions and gallery talks became no longer possible, the need for new creative reimaging of exhibitions and engagement became a priority. Like many arts institutions across the nation, faced with closure and social distancing guidelines, CFAC found remedy by leveraging the internet’s vast potential and capability to build community in a virtual space.
“On this platform, we not only showcase the artwork of artists through exhibitions, but there are other resources available,” Jackson says. “We are thrilled to be launching, in addition to the website, a new podcast series called ‘Black Art Speaks.’ The Creative Arts Academy will provide art activities and instruction for young learners. Visitors can stop by the shop to purchase objects, art and apparel that bring awareness to the importance of art in our community and raise funds for classes and programming.”
Jackson says the works represented have significant research value and, thanks to the redesign of the online platform, these resources will be more widely available to educators, artists, critics, curators and the arts community.
With the aspirational goals now realized, Jackson is excited to share the new platform. “I hope this resource expands the reach of the organization,” Jackson says. “We look forward to you visiting us digitally as well as in our physical space in the future.”
Three exhibitions are currently available for viewing. “Cherilyn Beckles: Syracuse Black Lives Matter Protest” is part of a photo series highlighting Black Lives Matter Syracuse photographers. Beckles is a recent graduate of the Newhouse School’s graduate program in visual communications. Her participation in the group Last Chance for Change, as a protester against police brutality in the Black community of Syracuse, inspired her to document the movement.
The second exhibition, “Jaleel Campbell: 2020” features the multimedia artwork of Syracuse-based artist and recent SUNY Purchase M.F.A. graduate Jaleel Campbell, whose work was recently showcased on the façade of the Everson Museum to support the “In Solidarity” installation project. His work demonstrates how the arts build community and Black Joy.
The third exhibition is CFAC’s 48th annual “Competitive Teen Art Show” in partnership with the Links Inc. Syracuse Chapter. It’s a juried show highlighting the artwork of high school students from the Syracuse City School District and surrounding communities.
About the Community Folk Art Center
Community Folk Art Center Inc., located at 805 E. Genesee Street, Syracuse, is a vibrant cultural and artistic hub committed to the promotion and development of artists of the African Diaspora. A unit of the Department of African American Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, CFAC is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization serving as a beacon of artistry, creativity and cultural expression within. The organization was established in 1972 by the late Herbert T. Williams, a professor in the Department of African American Studies, in collaboration with other Syracuse University faculty and students, as well as local artists and Syracuse residents. CFAC’s mission is to exalt cultural and artistic pluralism by collecting, exhibiting, teaching and interpreting the visual and expressive arts. Public programming includes exhibitions, film screenings, gallery talks, workshops and courses in the studio arts, including dance and ceramics. For more information, email email@example.com or call 315.442.2230.