Astria Suparak is an awesome artist and curator who invited out our video program Daughters of Joy! down to NY state a few weeks ago. The work she has done over the last year as Director of the Warehouse Gallery in Syracuse, NY has been inspiring, contemporary and emerging artist driven. This week, we
have learned that Astria is being fired from her position. The
Syracuse arts community is stunned by this: faculty at Syracuse
University, local arts organizations, and artists in the area have
been thrilled by the great programs Astria has organized in her short
tenure at the Gallery, and feel she has contributed much to the city.
Astria is very professional in all her undertakings.
She has made strong connections in this community, and fostered great
dialogue. The only reasons we have been given for this decision, made
by Jeffrey Hoone, is that he is restructuring the Gallery to meet his
high standards. We do not know what these standards are, and feel
that The Warehouse Gallery has been very successful in bringing
important contemporary art to central New York.
If you feel comfortable in doing so, we ask you to write a letter to
the people listed below. As a member of a larger art community,
showing support for Astria and her fine work will help us to improve
arts programming in Syracuse, as well as allow Astria to continue to
contribute her talents to the art world at large. Below is an email
that is being circulated to as many people as possible. Please feel
free to send it to anyone you feel should know about this, or would
be willing to help.
You can see some of the letters that have
already been written on her behalf at http://syracuse-warehouse.blogspot.com/
This past last week, I have learned that an exhibition of the social
activist artists The Yes Men, scheduled to open in November at The
Warehouse Gallery in downtown Syracuse, has been canceled by upper
management. When I inquired about the reasons for this decision, I
learned that CMAC (Coalition of Museums and Art Centers at Syracuse
University) is planning personnel changes at The Warehouse Gallery,
and canceled this show because of the anticipated lack of continuity
in the staff.
What is most alarming about this is that it appears that Astria
Suparak, the current Director of the Gallery, is being forced out. If
you feel that the work that Astria has done is valuable, please take
the time now to let others know.
I am writing to urge you to show your support now for Astria and the
programs she has organized at The Warehouse Gallery (including Come
On: Desire Under The Female Gaze, Faux Naturel, Embracing Winter, and
Networked Nature, along with various screenings and events around
town). You can do so in a number of ways:
1) write a letter to the following people:
Jeffrey Hoone, Executive Director, CMAC, email@example.com
Nancy Cantor, Chancellor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Spina, Vice Chancellor/Provost, email@example.com
Carole Brzozowski, Dean of CVPA, Brzoz@syr.edu
Please write of any personal experience you have had, either in
working with Astria, attending exhibitions and events at The
Warehouse Gallery, and/or your thoughts on its programming thus far.
Some points you could make ( I offer these only as a things to think
– The Warehouse Gallery is needed space for contemporary art. The
exhibitions it has offered have been important. This is due in a
large part because of the work of its current staff.
– The programming at the Warehouse Gallery has the support of people
on campus, and in the local as well as national/international arts
community. Astria has made strong connections with different
departments on campus, with local arts groups, and with national/
– Astria Suparak is a young curator worth supporting. She has shown
her abilities to put together intelligent exhibitions of artistic and
social importance. See http://www.thewarehousegallery.org for details.
– The Warehouse Gallery has been a significant contributor to the
“cultural capital” of Syracuse, something that both the city and
University claim as being valued.
– It is important that CMAC, and its Executive Director Jeffrey
Hoone, as a powerful cultural entity, be responsive to those who care
about the arts and be transparent about decisions.
2) Write a letter to the Editor to the following papers (include your
address and daytime phone number):
–The Post-Standard firstname.lastname@example.org. In the “subject box,”
please type “Post-Standard letter.”
The Readers’ Page, Box 4915, Syracuse 13221.
Fax : 470-3081.
–The New Times: email@example.com
Syracuse New Times Letters, 1415 W. Genesee St., Syracuse 13204
–The Daily Orange: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Daily Orange Corp.
744 Ostrom Ave.
Syracuse, NY 13210
3) Attend the opening reception this Thursday at the Warehouse
Gallery, from 5-8 pm, to show your support. Refreshments provided.
4) Pass this email on to anyone you think would be interested in
issues concerning the growth and appreciation of dynamic,
contemporary art in Upstate New York.