Monday, September 17, 2007

Jan Pottie

September 17, 2007

Dear Chancellor,

I am writing as a concerned citizen of Syracuse regarding the dismissal of Astria Suparak as Director of the Warehouse Gallery.

The CMAC executive seems very out of touch. Unfortunately it appears that the executive has also distanced the Office of the Chancellor from the artistic community, both at the University and in the broader community, keeping you out of touch and poorly informed.

Astria Suparak has built tremendous support in the University community. She has done this not only with exciting innovative programming but also by reaching out to faculty from many disciplines, convincing them that the Warehouse Gallery is an important extension of the classroom.

Astria has also reached out to me, a member of the general audience for the Warehouse Gallery exhibitions. I live in Syracuse and actively participate in the cultural life of the city. I have been following the Warehouse fiasco through discussions with a many people in the community.

I believe that you, Chancellor Cantor, convinced us that Syracuse is a good city, a city worthy of hope and investment. So I am bewildered by the decision to fire Astria Suparak because this young woman has picked up the gauntlet you threw down.

Astria Suparak is a valuable and tireless advocate for the city of Syracuse, attending countless meetings,sitting on many 'downtown' committees, adding her energy and committment to the goals that you, Chancellor Cantor, initiated.

Suparak shares your vision of urban renewal through the arts. She also epitomizes the young creative class that so many cities are anxious to attract (Astria also works and lives in downtown Syracuse).

How did the CMAC executive convince the Chancellor's office that this dynamic young Asian American woman should be fired? And fired in the middle of an exhibition season that several faculty had built into curricula and also supported financially.

Perhaps your office was unaware of the strong links forged by the Warehouse Gallery to both the University and to the city under the leadership of this energetic young woman.

The decision to fire Astria Suparak was both ill-founded and poorly timed and should be reconsidered. I sincerely hope that you will find a way to reverse this decision and to reinstate Astria Suparak as Director of the Warehouse Gallery.


Jan Pottie
Concerned Citizen

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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.