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Syracuse sister city relationship celebrated in exhibit

Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

A photography exhibition at The Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Finnish migration to the United States.  And one of the goals is to reestablish a connection between Syracuse and its sister city in Finland, which began more than 20 years ago.

The pictures of people and architecture that line the halls of The Gallery at The Tech Garden look like they’re from the same place. But half were taken in Finland and the other half in America where Finnish people settled, mainly in the Great Lakes region.

And that was the point photographer, Jason DeBose, was trying to make.

"You could not spend three days in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, without finding some reminiscent quality of the Nordic countries.,” said DeBose.

Like the Minneapolis Central Library, which was designed by the architect Cesar Pelli, who is from Argentina, but worked for ten years under the Finnish-American architect, Eero Saarinen.

“His style of vast amounts of wood and windows that let in enormous amounts of light are lifted in a lot of the architecture you see in the region today,” said the photographer.

Then there are the people - like the woman in Finland and the Finnish American man in Minnesota who both start their days with a swim in their local lakes.   

“It’s funny to see how many traits and habits were held over from being in Finland in the early 1800s to being in America in the 21st century," said DeBose.

Along with the photography exhibition, government representatives from Tampere, Finland came to Syracuse to explore the arts and heritage Syracuse has to offer. Micha Crook was the visit coordinator.

“It's all about creating a relationship whatever connective thread we may follow," she said.

Tampere is a sister city to Syracuse. That relationship was last observed in the 1980s by a boxing competition with participants from both cities..

The photography exhibition at The Tech Garden runs until July 15.