Arts & Culture: Diversity Dialogue

Cultural Diversity and Inclusion in the Arts in New York State’s Southern Tier

Dreams To Remember 1:Enabling Art

I have dreams, dreams to remember.

One of these is a Materials for the Arts in the Corning Elmira area.

Think Salvation Army or Goodwill for the arts. This is a place where businesses and individuals donate their excess or unwanted tools and materials and these tools and materials are made available to artists.

I envisioned it on Tioga Avenue, facing the river, romantically close to the railroad tracks, perhaps on the slab of concrete where the plant used to be. Or maybe at the end of town, near Dennisonn Park, also close to the railroad tracks and river.

 Edge of Town

This brilliant idea has been realized in several cities.

“Materials for the Arts, NYC helps artists realize their visions, provides students with a richer educational experience, and furnishes businesses with a simple and efficient way to enhance the cultural life of their city while promoting environmental awareness and reuse.”

They collect surplus home, office equipment and furniture, materials, fabric, paint, paper and other industrial cast-offs and make them available to Not for profit arts and cultural groups, art teacherand Social service, health, and environmental organizations with an ongoing art program. Warehouse shopping hours are Tuesday and Thursday.

Think of all the great internships and good green jobs this would generate!  There would be collectors of goods, transporters of goods, catalogers,  and curators. There would a need for IT people to document the inventory, site managers to present and shelve materials, website designers and managers.

There could be workshops on welding, soldering, hammering, shaping, painting. The place could have a studio and have youth and elderly artists in residence.

I think every city should have one of these. I was convinced of the opportunities in recycling  when I began to make paper. There was so much high quality waste going to the heap. Every corporate re-organization meant new stationery, and the old goo stationery—high quality paper with cotton content became high quality pulp, notepads, and sketchpads.

I remember finding the most amazing pieces of metal at the metal dump in Beaver Dams— or such a magic kingdom that was. If I owned a pickup I would still be Swimming in all the possibilities tossed there.

It would be wonderful to aid the trash into treasure journey, create jobs and provide materials for the arts.

About Akua Lezli Hope

Akua Lezli Hope uses sound, words, fiber, glass, metal, and wire to create poems, patterns, stories, music, sculpture, adornments, and peace. She wrote her first speculative poems in the sixth grade and has been in print every year, except one, since 1974 with over 400 poems published. Her collections and chapbooks include Embouchure: Poems on Jazz and Other Musics (ArtFarm Press, 1995; Writer’s Digest book award winner), Them Gone (The Word Works, 2018), Otherwheres: Speculative Poetry (ArtFarm Press, 2020; a 2021 Elgin Award winner), and Stratospherics (a micro-chapbook of scifaiku available from the Quarantine Public Library). A Cave Canem fellow, her honors include the NEA, two NYFAs, an SFPA award, and multiple Rhysling and Pushcart Prize nominations. She has won Rattle’s Poets Respond twice and launched Speculative Sundays, an online poetry reading series. Her work has also been published in numerous literary magazines and national anthologies, including: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, The 100 Best African American Poems (Sourcebooks MediaFusion, 2010); Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora (Warner Aspect, 2000), Asimov’s Science Fiction, Gyroscope Review, Pensive: A Global Journal of Spirituality & the Arts, Strange Horizons, Star*Line, SciFaikuest, Eye to the Telescope, The New Verse News, Breath & Shadow, The Crafty Poet II: A Portable Workshop (Terrapin Books, 2016), The Cossack Review, Silver Blade Magazine, Stone Canoe, and Three Coyotes. She is the editor of the record-breaking sea-themed issue of Eye To The Telescope #42, and of NOMBONO: An Anthology of Speculative Poetry by BIPOC Creators, the first of its kind, from Sundress Publications (2021). A third-generation New Yorker and an avid hand papermaker and crochet designer, she exhibits her artwork regularly. She sings songs from her favorite anime in Japanese, practices her soprano saxophone, and prays for the cessation of suffering for all sentience from the ancestral land of the Seneca, the Southern Finger Lakes region of New York State.

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This entry was posted on September 25, 2008 by and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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