Five faculty members have each received $10,000 New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Individual Artist grants to carry out creative projects, including several that have a focus on public service in the arts. NYSCA also awarded a $40,000…
City of Syracuse Flag Design Inspired by ‘The Land You’re On: Acknowledging the Haudenosaunee’ Podcast
Eric Hart ’10 is a freelance designer who has worked for clients ranging from big brands like Disney, HBO Max, Coca Cola and Toyota to technology companies like those in the blockchain category.
Hart, an alumnus of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, lives between New York City and Japan, but was born and raised in Syracuse, New York. So when the City of Syracuse put out a call for a new flag design, as a designer from Syracuse, it was right up Hart’s alley.
An eighth-generation Syracusan, Hart has researched his family’s genealogy and gathered information about his family’s roots dating back to the 1760s. He even has photos from the turn of the century provided by his mother. Hart grew up in the south valley area of Syracuse, near Nedrow, not far from the Onondaga Nation. When Hart started working on the flag design in August of 2022, he knew he had a responsibility to pay respect to the Haudenosaunee and make sure they were represented in the new Syracuse flag.
While working on the flag design elements, Eric came across a WAER Instagram post promoting the podcast series “The Land You’re On: Acknowledging the Haudenosaunee.” He began listening to the series and says from the very first episode, “One thing after another blew my mind. I was learning about the Onondaga Nation and it connected back to my own family’s genealogy,” Hart says.
Hart was especially interested in the 10th episode, “The Land You’re On: The Map.” After locating the maps referenced in the story, Hart pinpointed his own family in the tracts of land that were referenced. That experience he says, “cemented the inspiration I already felt… I knew I was on the right track.”
Hart’s design was inspired by the overlapping theme present throughout the podcast series. Understanding that the Onondaga people believe that decisions must be made for your children seven generations forward and back, Hart met with Onondaga Nation member Neal Powless, one of the podcast producers, and Michele Schenandoah, his wife and an Oneida member and Founder of the nonprofit Rematriation. Hart incorporated the cultural and historical feedback he learned into the flag design.
“I feel a personal connection to the symbolism in my design. Everything was serendipitous,” says Hart, who along with his wife plans to move back to Syracuse next year. Recently, he launched an e-commerce site to sell City of Syracuse flag merchandise.