Thursday, September 20, 2007

Alex Rogalski

Dear Mr. Hoone,

I am writing in response to an alarming notice I received regarding the impending dismissal of the Warehouse Gallery’s Director Astria Suparak.

As I am not clearly aware of the rationale behind this dismissal (as it appears few others are), I am writing this letter as a show of support for Astria and the incredible amount of work she has done in her brief year as the director of the Warehouse Gallery.

Living and working in Toronto as a film programmer, I had the opportunity to visit Syracuse this past March to take part in a film screening that was arranged in large part because of Astria’s relocation to your city. I would likely have not made the trip to Syracuse otherwise, as I was not aware of its attempts to create a contemporary art scene.

While spending a few days in Syracuse, I had the benefit of attending the Warehouse Gallery and the ‘Embracing Winter’ show, which was an expertly curated program involving multiple gifted artists from New York and Canada. Not only was it thoughtfully curated, with regards to the artwork displayed, but also it was immediately clear there was a social purpose involved. Astria has accomplished what rarely happens in the arts - an ability to create meaningful relationships between contemporary art exhibits and civic engagement.

As bluntly as I can state this, Syracuse University’s loss will be someone else’s gain.

I am not concerned for Astria’s future, as someone with her talent, commitment and expertise will surely find numerous places where her skills can be fully employed and rewarded. As for the Warehouse Gallery, it will be a great challenge to fill the position with someone who has the contacts, passion, and creativity that Astria brings to the position. Although the circumstances surrounding this decision are not clear to me, the results of it are already being witnessed (as is already evident by the cancellation of the ‘YES MEN’ show). In addition, your decision will have an economic impact upon Syracuse, as Astria’s programming and outreach have given people from larger centers good reason to visit Syracuse, and perceive it as a place that is progressive and cultural.

I would very much like to return to Syracuse, as my trip there this spring introduced me to a city and art scene that was worthy of notice. At this point, I question my return, as I would be unable to support an organization that disregards what it desperately needs.

Alex Rogalski, BFA, MA
Toronto, ON

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Syracuse has lost one its greatest assets. Astria Suparak, Inaugural Director of The Warehouse Gallery of Syracuse University, was removed from her position as of Sept. 30th, 2007, despite widespread support from community members, students, faculty, and the international art community. This decision was made unilaterally by Jeffrey Hoone, Executive Director of the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers (CMAC).

At the time of Suparak's dismissal, Hoone also canceled her forthcoming exhibitions, including "Keep It Slick: Infiltrating Capitalism with The Yes Men," due to open in November 2007.