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11 new art installations in downtown Syracuse from SU's Connective Corridor

Syracuse University’s Connective Corridor, which collaborates on improvement projects with the city of Syracuse and Onondaga County, is kicking off a summer of art installations throughout downtown Syracuse. The goal is to get students off the university hill and to beautify the area.

Jon Bocksel is about two stories high in the air painting two 208-square-foot murals along either side of the Penny Pub in downtown Syracuse.

“One side of the mural you’re going into the downtown off the highway and the other, you’re sort of leaving the downtown area at large, so the concept was to have a welcoming mural and a goodbye mural,” Bocksel said. "Maximizing color and line, you don't need to do all these fades, things you see in advertising now because that's been formed by a computer. This is formed by doing it by hand. You're up on a lift in 90 degree heat, you want to do it fast and you want to have the most amount of impact. That's what the sign trade really is."

Bocksel is a visual artist and sign painter from New York City. His murals are part of 11 installations by other artists going up around downtown this year. The Connective Corridor held a call for artists for projects totaling $1 million. Quinton Fletchall of the Connective Corridor said artwork has influenced many of their projects.

“We did the large streetscape, the bike lanes, the new sidewalks, the bus system, but we saw public art as another way of enhancing the city on multiple different levels of creating these personal moments of curiosity and excitement as you stumble along an art piece,” Fletchall said. "It's really the artists bringing their vision to it and then working with those different stakeholders they meet along the way. Getting public feedback into it. What's the goal of the property owners and how do they want to enhance it? Ultimately, it's the artists' vision."

Illuminated suspended sculptures above Onondaga Creek, a “Storytime” clock, trees with 40 different fruits and more sign paintings are scheduled for installations on public and private properties, all intended to make the city a little more magical.


Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.