601 Tully: Center for Engaged Art and Research
601 Tully: Center for Engaged Art and Research is an affiliate of Syracuse University. Housed at 601 Tully Street on the Near West Side of Syracuse, 601 Tully supports interdisciplinary scholarship in art, architecture, ecology, entrepreneurship, and education. Committed to the co-production of new culture, 601 Tully provides international artist residencies that engage the neighborhood and/or use the building as a catalyst for creating new work.
In 2007 artist Marion Wilson was invited by then Chancellor Nancy Cantor to propose a project to create a bridge between the SU campus and the Syracuse City school district. Josef Beuys, a German conceptualist in the 1970s says “sculpture is not an object or a thing – but is how we as artists can mold and shape the world in which we live.” That year, Wilson developed a curriculum named after this concept “New Directions in Social Sculpture” (MLAB Builds) which took as its task to address the lack of space in the crumbling city schools with their lack of arts education.
MLAB Builds! began with the purchase of a 1984 American Eagle RV. With a total of 30k from two grants, a class of nine students gutted, renovated and then programmed this used RV into a mobile digital lab, poetry library and community gallery. With one set of cameras and books and two student teachers, MLAB proceeded to travel to 12 schools a year offering art and creative writing programs.
In 2010, with the support of the Near West Side Initiative, Home Headquarters, School of Education, and Imagining America, Wilson purchased and renovated an abandoned residence on the NWS of Syracuse that had become a local drug haven. Over the course of seven semesters of a “New Directions in Social Sculpture” design/build curriculum, the 601 Tully team designed, built, and programmed this house into a contemporary arts space that links university, neighbor, and artists in the coproduction of new culture. Whereas MLAB was about creating a liminal or threshold space that could always shift, 601 Tully is about being present, being a neighbor, staying in place.
The class consisted of students from the School of Architecture, College of Visual & Performing Arts, School of Education, Creative Writing Program, ESF & Fowler High School, who were collectively responsible for re-zoning, designing, building and sustaining the program. 601 Tully opened to the public in June 2011.
601 Tully is made possible by the generous support of the Syracuse University School of Education, The Kauffman Foundation, The Near West Side Initiative, Imagining America, Home HeadQuarters Inc., Say Yes to Education, and National Grid.