Monday, September 17, 2007

Mick Mather

From: Michael Mather
September 17, 2007 10:51:43 AM EDT

Subject: In Support of Astria Suparek

Walking the Walk

The recent news about Astria Suparak’s removal as Director of The Warehouse Gallery is particularly unsettling for all of the reasons given by so many of her colleagues within Syracuse University who have already submitted letters of support. Just as unsettling are the unanswered questions regarding the specifics of the circumstances leading to this change. A good case has been made for the fact that Syracuse University and the City of Syracuse needs a forward thinking Director - one that Astria has proven to be.

That said, it is her connection to the community that is foremost on my mind. There’s been a lot of talk of the Chancellor’s Initiative’s as it relates to interaction between the hill and the city. It’s been my great pleasure to have worked with Astria through the City of Syracuse Community Development program, Tomorrow’s Neighborhoods Today (TNT). Astria is also a key partner with two public art projects located downtown that I’ve been personally involved with – The David Hayes Sculpture Project and The Totem Project.

Her professionalism, knowledge and expertise in assisting that connective bridge between town and gown is an asset that is born of a desire to make one’s community better and fueled by the step-by-step process of doing good work in each arena every day. Relationship building and community networking takes time, building trust in that area takes time, turning both into an asset that serves all factions of the community takes time and skill. Astria Suparak has the skill and has taken the time necessary to “walk-the-walk”. On behalf of the Greater Syracuse Arts Community, I ask you to weigh the value of this and reconsider her removal as Director.

Mick Mather

Special Projects Coordinator
Cultural Resources Council

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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.