Syracuse, N.Y. – Mayor Ben Walsh announced the winning community artist that will help transform the former driveway in front of Syracuse City Hall into a vibrant and welcoming pedestrian plaza. The winning design by Jessica Whitley of Syracuse was selected by residents in an online poll this summer. The asphalt art project is expected to be installed late summer into early fall.
“Through involvement of residents in the design and selection of the asphalt art installation, the community came together to collectively reimagine and reinvent a space that reflects their vision for Syracuse,” said Mayor Ben Walsh. “This project brings a unique identity to the plaza and further establishes the front of City Hall as a centerpiece for community gathering in the heart of Downtown.”
Earlier this year, Adapt CNY and the City of Syracuse issued an open call for artist submissions to envision the site as a permanent public space for community dialogue and inclusive civic engagement. A design committee consisting of members from Adapt CNY, the City of Syracuse, the Public Art Commission and the community narrowed down the submissions to three finalists, before asking the community to choose the final winner.
In addition to Jessica’s mural, City Hall Plaza will feature tables and chairs for daily public use and flower planters that will barricade vehicles from the space. The goal of the asphalt art project is to make the front of City Hall a prime destination for people, not vehicles, and better establish the front plaza as a bright spot for community gathering.
“The desire for beautiful spaces in the urban environment is universal,” said the City’s Public Art Coordinator Kate Auwaerter. “What better place is there to create a welcoming and artful community space than in front of City Hall?”
Reimagining City Hall Plaza is a community-driven project in partnership with Adapt CNY and funded through a $25,000 grant from the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Asphalt Art Initiative, which uses art and community engagement to improve street safety and revitalize public space.
About Jessica Whitley
Jessica Whitley is a local artist born and raised on the Northside of Syracuse. Her work focuses on exploring boundaries, from personal to societal, and analyzing how people engage with one another and their environments. She has lived, studied, and worked in Syracuse and is excited to use her voice and perspective to help improve its residents’ quality of life.