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Monthly Archives: February 2016

International Center of Syracuse Wine Tasting at Vinomania

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • February 29, 2016

Wine tasting

Join the International Center of Syracuse (ICS) for a wine tasting and fundraising event at Vinomania on March 5 from 4:00 – 6:00 PM. In addition to the samples of wine, guests will also enjoy samples of coffee from Up Start entrepreneur, Salt City Coffee, candies from Lune Chocolat, food from Smoke Incorporated BBQ, and other local businesses. $1 from each bottle will benefit the ICS.

The International Center of Syracuse is an non-profit organization dedicated to providing high-quality services and programs that facilitate cross-cultural and international exchange in CNY.

Photo Friday: Ascending Steam

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • February 26, 2016


Through the Veiled Eyes of Others: ArtRage Exhibits Racist Memorabilia

Written by Liz Wierbinski  • February 24, 2016

Liz2Liz is a graduate of SUNY Albany with a master’s degree in Social Work. She’s currently working with NEHDA and Northside UP as our Community Prosperity AmeriCorps VISTA.

As part of our collaboration with NEHDA, we’ve asked her to write guest posts for us each month as she explores the Northside, its businesses and residents.  All of her posts can be found under the “NEHDA” category. You can learn more about the organization by visiting their website and Facebook


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On Saturday, February 6th, ArtRage hosted their opening reception for the exhibit titled BLACKOUT: Through the Veiled Eyes of Others, racist memorabilia from the collection of William Berry, Jr. After being spotted on Syracuse.com by ArtRage’s Rose Viviano (Director) and Kimberley McCoy (Community Engagement Organizer), Berry agreed to put his collection of racist memorabilia on display.

The household artifacts in Berry’s collection portray stereotypical images and behaviors of people of African descent while revealing the history of racism and how Black people were perceived by the majority culture. The exhibit is meant to generate conversation and growth about racism in the United States through its provoking and challenging pieces. Scattered throughout the exhibit are personal narratives detailing instances where Berry himself experienced racism, making his message all the more powerful.

Rose McCoy explained the overwhelmingly positive response to Berry’s display. She stated that people who have browsed the gallery have ranged in age. Some of  the older visitors recall seeing these objects in their younger days, and the younger individuals feel shocked that the items actually existed. Berry points out in his exhibition statement that while these images are no longer common household objects, the intent to maintain a racial superiority through everyday mass cultural consumption is still present. The racist memorabilia serves as a reminder of the absolute importance of maintaining an awareness of history, and what happens when your humanity is defined by another person or culture.

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To experience the exhibition for yourself, head to ArtRage at 505 Hawley Avenue. BLACKOUT: Through the Veiled Eyes of Others will be on display through March 19th, 2016, and if you’d like to meet the man behind the memorabilia, William Berry, Jr. will be at ArtRage on March 10th at 7:00 PM for a gallery talk.

To read more about Berry and BLACKOUT, checkout some of the recent news stories from our local media:

“[T]he ArtRage show highlights the absolutely ordinary nature of the products on view. There’s nothing unusual about Gold Dust, a household cleaning product. Yet the manufacturer centered an advertising campaign on “Goldie” and “Dusty,” two stereotypical characters.” – “ArtRage Outrages With Black Stereotype Show,” Syracuse New Times

“William Berry, Jr. started collecting the racist memorabilia more than 40 years ago.  With help from traveling friends, his collection includes artifacts from all over the world.   Berry says the theme is the same…African Americans were seen and portrayed in a negative light.” – “ArtRage Exhibit Features Artifacts that Distorted Perceptions of African Americans,” WAER

“Berry’s experience with racial issues extends beyond the objects in his collection. He grew up in a time where being verbally and physically attacked because of his race and drinking from ‘Blacks Only’ water fountains were social norms.” – “Exhibition of racist memorabilia premieres at ArtRage Gallery,” The Daily Orange

Photo Friday: The Icy Details

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • February 19, 2016

Thanks to Liz from the Northeast Hawley Development Association, Inc. – NEHDA, Inc. for sharing her snowy photos with us.


Hopeprint: Empowering Neighbors to Thrive

Written by Lexie Kwiek  • February 17, 2016

Lexie2_for webEditor’s Note: Lexie is a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alum with a master’s degree in Communications & New Media Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University. She currently works as the Volunteer & Community Engagement Coordinator for the Syracuse Northeast Community Center and NEHDA. We’ve asked her to write guest posts for us, taking a deeper look into the Northside, its businesses, organizations, and residents. Her posts can be found under the “Syracuse Northeast Community Center” and the “NEHDA” categories.




I wasn’t sure if I was approaching the right building as I went up the steps to the house on Lilac Street. No sign, no parking lot—could this be the organization that I had heard so much about?

I rang the doorbell ready to apologize and ask for directions, but instead I was greeted by Nicole Watts, founder and Executive Director of Hopeprint. One step into the warm living room and I knew I was in the right place.

As we were talking, Nicole shared the reason for not having a sign: Hopeprint is a home. It is a place where people live, where families eat dinner, and where all neighbors are welcome. This is not a Community Center; “We are brokers of resources, not providers,” she explained. Hopeprint is a home where people are empowered to move from surviving to thriving.

The concept behind Hopeprint began as Nicole tried to find her way to a city bigger than Syracuse. Always having felt a passion for Urban America, she pictured herself in a place like Chicago or NYC, but all paths to larger cities seemed to be continuously blocked.

Trying to find answers, Nicole turned to prayer and she received two distinct images: one where she was on a street surrounded by people of all different cultures in what seemed to be a parade, and another where she was surrounded by children of every nationality. The one thing that remained exactly the same in both images was Nicole’s face: she was beaming in both visions. “It looked like I had found exactly where I wanted to be,” she said.

After recognizing that she would find happiness through working with New Americans, Nicole had to ask herself, “Where are those people?” If there were refugee populations in cities like Chicago and NYC, there must be refugees in Syracuse. Without much formal research available, Nicole began meeting with families and finding her own answers.

From there, Hopeprint came together organically. It started with another person wanting to move into the city of Syracuse, and grew as the perfect house came on the market and generous donors sponsored its purchase. Three months after moving to the city, Nicole knew her mission was working.

“We just started inviting people in,” she said. Today Hopeprint sees an average of 150 refugees every week. All programming is focused on bringing people together and empowering them through hospitality. “Her Village” is one example of how Hopeprint’s curriculum fosters relationships. Every week, women from all cultures come together to grow in friendship and community by sharing conversations. For example, one night the topic of discussion was tea—what kind of tea does everyone drink, how do they brew it, how is each tea different and yet the same? During these gatherings everyone leads each other; everyone is both a teacher and a student.

This dual role is enhanced further through “Steps to Thrive,” Hopeprint’s mutual mentorship program where a New American and an American-born help each other to meet individual goals. Both partners identify their dreams, whether it’s owning a home or learning Swahili. They then meet and focus on helping each other reach these goals. “Teaching is empowerment,” Nicole said, and people are able to move beyond a survival mentality through that empowerment.


Over the years, Nicole has seen many people find success in their lives. From students graduating college, to watching a family move through the steps of learning English, securing full time jobs, and owning their own house; Hopeprint continues to help people reach a place of thriving. It has even helped Nicole’s dreams come true. Today, her life matches the visions that started Hopeprint. You will often find her surrounded by neighborhood children, and, as she says, “The entire world is in my house.”

To learn how you can get involved, visit the volunteer tab on Hopeprint’s website and begin the process of being matched with the right volunteer opportunity. The Hopeprint Facebook page is another great way to stay up to date on their activities.

Tickets on Sale Now: Salt City DISHES

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • February 16, 2016


WHAT: Salt City DISHES’ 7th Annual Grant Making Dinner

WHEN: February 21, 5:00 PM

WHERE: Bishop Harrison Community Center at All Saints Parish (1342 Lancaster Ave)

The Salt City DISHES team has launched advanced sale tickets for their 7th Annual grant-making dinner. The dinner will include a locally-sourced meal by Roux and presentations by several community innovators. This year, a new location, music, and an increased grant amount of $2,000 will add a fresh flair to the event!

To purchase tickets, click here. Attendees can choose between a $20 ticket or a $40 option, which does not include any additional perks, but will contribute to the larger grant amount.

Salt City DISHES (Dine in. Support Happenings. Enliven Syracuse!) is a recurring community dinner, which funds creative public projects that enliven the city of Syracuse. At the event, guests receive a home-cooked, locally sourced meal and a ballot to vote on project proposals. Proposals are voted on during the dinner as select community members present their ideas. The winner is awarded money collected from ticket fees to help realize their project and returns to the next DISHES to report on their progress. To learn more, visit the DISHES blogspot


Photo Friday: Splash of pink

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • February 12, 2016

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Laci’s Bourbon Dinner: March 3rd

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • February 9, 2016

Laci's Bourbon Dinner

Tickets are available for a Bourbon Dinner at Laci’s Tapas Bar on March 3, 6:00 – 9:00 PM. The special event, sponsored by Sazerac, will include a five-course meal served with six different bourbons.

Tickets are $65 per person. Space is limited. Call (315) 218-5903 to reserve your spot. To learn more, join the Facebook invite or “like” Laci’s page.

Photo Friday: A new look

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • February 5, 2016

710 North Salina Street, filled with mannequins, fabrics, and tools, is set to open as a fashion outlet this spring.

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A Saint and Her Legacy in Syracuse

Written by Lexie Kwiek  • February 3, 2016

Lexie2_for webEditor’s Note: Lexie is a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alum with a master’s degree in Communications & New Media Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University. She currently works as the Volunteer & Community Engagement Coordinator for the Syracuse Northeast Community Center and NEHDA. We’ve asked her to write guest posts for us, taking a deeper look into the Northside, its businesses, organizations, and residents. Her posts can be found under the “Syracuse Northeast Community Center” and the “NEHDA” categories.


­­How do you properly honor the life and mission of a saint that dedicated much of her life to helping the underserved in Syracuse and beyond? The Saint Marianne Cope Shrine and Museum decided to celebrate with an open house and give visitors an opportunity to learn more about the organizations whose work reflects Saint Marianne’s spirit.

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On January 23rd, Saint Marianne’s Feast Day, the Shrine & Museum hosted a  Community Engagement Fair with more than a dozen community organizations setup among the museum’s exhibits. Guests were encouraged to get involved through volunteer opportunities or charitable donations. Mother Marianne’s belongings and history provided the perfect backdrop for a call to action, encouraging visitors to engaged with the organizations and get involved. While families wound their way through the museum, they were able to tour the exhibits and learn about Mother Marianne and her work.

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Mother Marianne was declared a saint on October 21, 2012, but her story begins nearly 150 years earlier in the City of Syracuse. As a young woman, Mother Marianne finished her vows as a Sister of Saint Francis in Assumption Church and went on to become a leader in education and health.

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One of her most notable additions to Syracuse is the creation of Saint Joseph’s Hospital Health Center. Once an old dance hall and saloon, Mother Marianne had the vision to turn its earliest buildings into one of the first Catholic hospitals in Central New York. She continued to break through stigmas of the era by caring for all people, regardless of gender, race or religion. She insisted on treating all patients with dignity and respect—even those with diseases that were considered taboo, such as leprosy and alcoholism.From Syracuse, she followed her calling of service to Hawaii, where she spent the rest of her life serving people afflicted with leprosy.

The details of Mother Marianne’s story are organized through images, pieces of writing, and relics on display in the Museum & Shrine, located right next to Saint Joseph’s Hospital. Today, she is known for her compassion as the “beloved mother of outcasts.” The Community Engagement Fair was a way to honor her Feast Day, while also showing people how far we have come as a city and how to get involved in the direction and future of Syracuse. “This is exactly what she would have wanted,” one Sister of Saint Francis said. “She was always working to make the community better.” It takes strong leaders like Mother Marianne to put ideas into motion, but it also takes a dedicated community to support that movement.

To learn more about Mother Marianne, visit the Museum & Shrine during their business hours or scroll through the Sisters of Saint Francis’ website.