The CORA Foundation (Community Outreach and Resources for the Arts) is formed for the following purposes:
- To support and encourage educational cultural activities and events in the greater Syracuse Community.
- To support and encourage artists within a wide range of disciplines.
- To work with Central New York arts organizations to enhance the availability and quality of cultural presentations for the diverse communities of greater Syracuse.
- To bring to diverse audiences exhibits of works from outside Central New York that otherwise might not be available to Syracuse area people.
Ruth Putter, Founding Donor
After her husband Norton died in 2001, Ruth was looking for a memorial to honor his many years of volunteer work fighting against social injustice and racism; and defending freedom of expression in all human activity including the arts. Dik Cool’s idea of a progressive gallery sounded perfect. Dik had purchased an old store front with good space and location that needed renovating. So here was her project – supply seed money and watch with pleasure while the transformation of Cinderella into a beautiful ballroom where exhibits, lectures, community outreach could all take place in ArtRage, The Norton Putter Gallery.
As a young photographer living in New York city, Ruth was influenced by the “Decisive Moment” work of Henri Cartier Bresson and photographers who worked and lectured at the Photo League, especially Margaret Bourke White. In Syracuse, she studied with Fred Demarest at SU and exhibited, still do, largely in the surrounding area including SU Lightwork, the Everson galleries and beyond. Ruth has had photographs published in national photography and feminist publications and calendars. As a board member and Vice President of the CORA Foundation, she look forward to working with our dynamic all around director Rose Viviano and others towards a successful and rewarding achievement, and an unique addition to the local art scene.
CORA FOUNDATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Our dynamic Board of Directors is comprised of professional artists, long time social activists, educators and community planners of diverse experience, ages and ethnicities. All are committed individuals who share our desire to bring this unique gallery experience to Syracuse, joining the handful of progressive art galleries which currently exist nationwide.
Dik Cool, President
Dik is the founder and President of Syracuse Cultural Workers (SCW). He began the internationally acclaimed Peace Calendar in 1972 and published it under the auspices of the Syracuse Peace Council for 11 years. Since buying the 505 Hawley Avenue (ArtRage) building in 2005, Dik has had a vision of a political art gallery in mind. The not-for-profit gallery is a wonderful complement to SCW in that it can display images that would never sell as products in the market place. The gallery can provide a less diluted forum for both artistic and political expression.
Annemarie Deegan, Vice-President
Annemarie Deegan has been interested in creating art since childhood and believes every being has some degree of creativity. She has an affinity for social justice art and is excited to have a socially minded gallery on the Northside, where she has resided for the past 10 years. After graduating from Daemen College, she worked for several years as a graphic designer. Her work included freehand drawing, page layout, and computer assisted drawing and design. Currently, her passion comes with her experiences, which she draws upon to create art through various media such as ceramics, weaving, fabrics and paper folding. She is involved in various activities and volunteers when she can. Annemarie enjoys cycling and has done several fundraising rides; including the Empire State AIDS Ride, a seven day ride from Niagara Falls to New York City. She currently works for the City of Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth Programs.
Ron Van Norstrand, Treasurer
Ron Van Norstrand is a sole-practitioner attorney in Syracuse. During his twenty-nine year legal career, he has focused on civil rights, consisted primarily of housing discrimination, employment discrimination and discrimination against individuals with disabilities, with an emphasis in special education. He developed and incorporated the Fair Housing Council of Central New York, Inc. and represents the Council and individual victims of housing discrimination. He also represents parents of children with special needs. He was drawn to service on the Cora Foundation board because it offers an extremely important venue for peace and social justice.
Yvonne C. Murphy, Co-Secretary
Yvonne C. Murphy is a widely published poet and presents scholarship in the areas of creative writing, interdisciplinary studies, visual arts and visual culture, popular culture and creativity studies. Her first book of poetry, Aviaries, was published in March 2011, by Carolina Wren Press. An Associate Professor of The Arts at SUNY Empire State College in East Syracuse, NY, she has worked as an editor, publications writer, journalist, library clerk, storyteller, researcher and artist-in residence in public schools, community organizations, hospitals and museums. In June 2011, she won the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for “Excellence in Scholarly and Creative Activities.” Born in Canandaigua, NY, she has redcently returned to the area to raise her young daughter and give back to the communities that supported her artistic growth.
Laurie Gilmore Selleck, Co-Secretary
Laurie Gilmore Selleck, a native of the Buffalo area, and longtime resident of Central New York, is a professor at Cazenovia College where she directs the Visual Communications Program. She studied Painting at the Art Institute of Boston, and received an MFA in Illustration at Syracuse University. Laurie is a painter, illustrator, muralist, and graphic designer who actively works in each of these media. After serving as the Art Director at Stickley, Audi & Co. in Manlius, NY, Laurie joined the faculty at Cazenovia College in 2000 in order to pursue her interest in social activism through design and to instill a design conscience in her students. Her primary research interest is design activism, which she has pursued through a variety of topics including the Chicano mural movement, cause-related marketing, mothers and war, and political propaganda. As a result of her work in these areas, she has been the recipient of research grants at the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History at Duke University, and the Modern Graphic History Library at Washington University in St. Louis. Her teaching interests include art and revolution and she has written and taught such courses as “Protest and Propaganda,” “Revolution: Inciting Art for the Masses” and “Power to the People” in which her students learn to become more socially active through greater global awareness and personal creativity.
Recently, her work has been displayed at the Center for the Study of Political Graphics in Los Angeles, and the Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn. She has produced graphic design work for numerous non-profit organizations and social causes such as the Pancreatic Cancer Network, Native Planet and Hope for Ariang. She currently serves on the board of the Hope for Ariang Foundation, a grassroots organization whose project “Bricks of Hope” is dedicated to building a school in Sudan for children recovering from poverty and war.
ArtRage for her is a melding of personal beliefs and professional interests as it provides a local opportunity to combine art and community in the celebration of diversity and pursuit of social justice.
John D. Brulé is a native of Upper Michigan’s beautiful Lake Superior region and now a retired Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Syracuse University after teaching there for 40 years. He has traveled extensively over the past several decades and after 50+ years of being married to Sally of fond memory has found a joyful new life with Dolores. He is a longtime member of the Syracuse Peace Council and a volunteer with Jail Ministry and the NYACLU and filled with hope for a just and peaceful world.
Bob Gates, a long-time resident of central New York, is a photographer and a former Professor of English at Syracuse University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Iowa and studied photography at the University of Iowa School of Art and the Santa Fe Photography Workshops. His photographs have won awards in regional and national contests, have appeared in group, individual, and juried exhibitions, and have been published internationally in such magazines as National Geographic Traveler, PhotoLife, The Photo Review, Photographic, Outdoor Photographer, Martha’s Vineyard Magazine, and Popular Photography. His most recent project, “Last Transfer,” is a series of portraits of people taken at the Centro bus transfer station at the corner of Fayette and Salina Street. It was part of the 2011 Syracuse Symposium at Syracuse University, and will be on display at Artrage as part of TONY 2012.
Mary Kuhn is a Bronx native who has spent the last 42 years working in public sector mental health in the greater Syracuse area. She retired as the director of the Onondaga County Child and Adolescent Outpatient Clinic, and continues her private clinical practice out of Armory Square to this day. Her commitment to social justice has brought her to protest marches since the Vietnam War, through Iraq and Afghanistan, to ground the drones and shut down the SOA – and though her soles may have worn, her soul keeps fighting. She sees in ArtRage an important space for the art and politics of today´s dissenting voices so that they be shared with generations old and new, in order to build that other world that we so often dream of.
Vince Sgambati was a New York City boy–conceived in Brooklyn, born in Manhattan and raised in Queens with holidays in the Bronx–but, at twenty-two, he (according to his mother) ran away to Syracuse. He’s a long-time social justice activist, especially around issues pertaining to LGBT folks, which is just about everything. After working at the Syracuse Developmental Center for five years, followed by a twenty-five year teaching career with the Syracuse City School District–including special and general education in middle and elementary schools, and staff development through Special Education Training and Resource Center and the Syracuse Teacher Center–Vince retired to give more time to parenting and writing. His short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in literary journals and anthologies, and he was a semi-finalist in Nimrod Literary Awards: the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction. His creative nonfiction has appeared in the anthology Queer and Catholic (Routledge) and the Journal of GLBT Family Studies. Vince’s essays regarding LGBT parenting have appeared online and in print, including Lavender Magazine where he was a regular columnist. Vince lives with his partner of thirty-seven years, their teenage son and two dogs. He is a board member of Pride and Joy Families and a member of the LGBT Task Force at All Saints Church.
Jeff Unaitis is currently Executive Director of the Onondaga County Bar Association – that’s his vocation. But his avocation is music and the theatre, and he has been able to celebrate both those passions during his 33 years in Syracuse, primarily as music director and producer for many community theatre companies. He had the privilege of working with ArtRage in 2010 when the gallery partnered with Rarely Done Productions on a fund-raising production of the musical “Falsettos,” which combined Jeff’s commitment to the arts with his dedication to social issues. Jeff spent 9 years on the Board of Syracuse Stage, and has served on many other community boards and fund-raising events.
Pete Waack (pronounced “walk”) is a native of Madison, WI, where one of his earliest memories is of the University of Wisconsin students’ “War at Home” protests against the Vietnam War.
For the past 11 years, as General Manager, he has guided The Daily Orange, the independent, student-written newspaper at Syracuse University. In 2012, “The D.O.” was recognized as the best college paper in the country by The Society of Professional Journalists. He started his professional career as a peace lawyer working as the Associate Director of The Lawyers’ Committee for Nuclear Policy which grew out of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City. After a few years, he migrated to the world of publishing, where he has worked for the past 15 years.
Pete’s love of art began as the son of actress and then blossomed in NYC as the Editor and Founder of “Java Journal,” an arts and literature magazine covering the burgeoning coffeehouse scene in Manhattan in the mid-1990s. A recent two year residency at “The Creamery” artist colony in Lafayette, NY cemented his passion for community based art.
Along with his long-time lover, Maggie Maurer, he has been an exhibit sponsor for ArtRage for the past few years. Recently, the couple bought a house on the Near Westside of Syracuse, and is actively involved in the rebuilding of that neighborhood, with an eye toward maintaining and celebrating its diversity.
Anita Welych is a Syracuse-born artist of Colombian heritage who teaches art at Cazenovia College, where she serves as Foundations Director. She studied painting at Cornell University, Syracuse University and the Universidad Nacional in Bogota, Colombia. She has received two Fulbright grants to study and teach in Colombia.
Welych was co-director of the Syracuse alternative gallery Altered Space from 1990-1996. Most of the exhibits focused on social or political themes, such as women and health, consumerism, mental health issues and hate crimes. Altered Space made a commitment to empowering the artist in everyone. Gallery members initiated the outrageous Cheap Art Auctions to showcase such work and make art available to everyone at affordable prices.
Welych’s own creative work explores social issues, particularly those affecting women. She combines painting, drawing and nontraditional materials (like hair, makeup, fingernails and vintage linens) in artist’s books, collages and installations.
She has served on the boards of Open Figure Drawing and the Joanna Spitzner Foundation, and has supported the activities of the Syracuse Peace Council, particularly working on newsletter cover art and illustrations.
Welych, the daughter of immigrants, grew up in poverty on the near West Side of Syracuse, where she witnessed occasional discrimination against her parents. Her mother picketed to unionize Syracuse University’s library employees. Thus sensitized to social issues at an early age, she was active in social justice groups in high school and environmental causes in college. In Colombia, Welych witnessed abject poverty and despair. She learned the role developed nations play in perpetuating such poverty. Welych illustrated training workbooks for people working with street children in Colombia and taught or lectured at several universities while on her second Fulbright grant.
Welych’s lifelong sensitivity to pressing social issues drives her to become a board member of the Cora Foundation and artRage Gallery.
Bahar Zaker teaches art history and film studies at Cazenovia College. She completed her undergraduate work at Stony Brook University, and her graduate work at the University of California at Irvine, where she was a founding member of the Octopus Journal of Visual Studies. A resident of Syracuse for 7 years, she is interested in the intersection of art and politics and the way that each of those can inform the other. Zaker has traveled extensively, most recently having spent 5 months in Southeast Asia in 2011. These experiences have led to a better understanding of visual culture and the realization of how deeply artistic practice reflects and strengthens communities all around the world, and the need for these practices to be supported and preserved. Zaker has served Syracuse as a member of the Public Art Commission since 2010.