Marion Wilson, Founder/Director of 601 Tully
As the director of community initiatives in the visual arts in the School of Education at Syracuse University, Marion Wilson continues her work in the Near West Side where she promotes the co production of culture in collaboration with the city schools, the neighborhood, and with SU. In 2007 Wilson devised an interdisciplinary curriculum called “Social Sculpture” and has adapted the original principles of social sculpture coined by Joseph Beuys into a model for higher education classroom teaching. Under this new direction of Social Sculpture she conceptualized and directed the construction of the Mobile Literacy Arts Bus (MLAB), a 1984 Winnebago which was converted into a mobile classroom by a team of art, architecture and design students. Shortly after the successful launch of her first large-scale collaborative public artwork, Wilson took on the monumental task of converting a abandoned house on the Syracuse’s Near West Side into a sustainable community art and education center, a project that we now know as 601 Tully. Wilson lives and works in Syracuse, and maintains her own art studio and art practice in New York City. She has had exhibitions or completed public commissions for New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; KK Art Projects, New Orleans; Dorsky Gallery, New York; and Shroeder Romero Gallery, Exit Art, Cheryl Pelavin Fine Arts and Sculpture Center, New York; in addition to Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in Buffalo; SPACES in Cleveland; and SCOPE Miami/Art Basel in Miami. Wilson received a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University, a master’s degree in pedagogical studies from Columbia University, and an M.F.A. from the University of Cincinnati.
Jillian Nakornthap, Curator
Jillian Nakornthap received her BA in Art History from University of California, Irvine and a MA in Exhibition Design from California State University, Fullerton. In 2010, Nakornthap was given the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion at the Critical Mixed Race Conference in Chicago. During graduate school, Jillian and a few colleagues formed a curatorial collective called Sixpack Projects. The collective has curated exhibitions throughout Los Angeles and Orange County. Her Sixpack colleagues serve as a sounding board and have helped her to develop into the curator she is today. While her taste is quite eclectic, her interest lies in art that investigates social issues and identity politics. Her past exhibitions include Give & Take: The Currency of Culture, Corporeal Contours, Mini Size Me: A Monumental Critique of Today’s Handheld Society, Sopa de Gabi and Embracing Ambiguity: Faces of the Future. In the past, Nakornthap has worked at the Community Folk Art Center, Bakersfield Museum of Art and the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, CA.
Melissa Gardiner, Coordinator of Public Programs
Melissa Gardiner holds a MM from Juilliard and a BFA from Michigan, where she majored in jazz trombone. While music is still an integral part of her life, her focus now centers on social activism through the arts. As a Near West Side resident, Melissa is heavily involved in a variety of community-based organizations. She is also on the Advisory Board for the BOFA gallery, and one of the founders and organizers of the Elephant in the Room discussion series, which addresses socially sensitive topics. As an administrator, Melissa has worked at bc Restaurant, Red House Arts Center, Juilliard, and the University of Michigan. As a musician, Melissa has worked at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse in Auburn, Disneyland, Carnival Cruise Lines, and freelance. She has toured and taught all over the US and Japan and performed with musicians such as Geri Allen, Wycliffe Gordon, Branford Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, Benny Golson, and more. She currently has an album out entitled Transitions.
John Cardone, Teaching Artist
John is an Imagining America Engagement Fellow and a Social Sculptor in Syracuse, NY. He has a keen interest in art, biking, and the challenges of education in changing environments. Through his work, professionally and artistically, John strives to promote social literacy and personal prosperity. He firmly believes that every human being is an artist and that we all have the power to create meaning in our lives. John has studied sculpture in Dakar, Senegal and Syracuse, NY where he recently recently received his BFA from SU.