The New York Civil Liberties Union and Shane Lavalette present – A Shadow Cast: Interstate 81

August 18, 2019 to August 24, 2019 - 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM

The New York Civil Liberties Union and Shane Lavalette present
A Shadow Cast: Interstate 81


Opening Reception – Sunday, August 18, 2-5pm

Related events:
Film Screening on Tuesday, August 20, 5:30-8pm (screening begins at 6pm)
Panel Discussion on Thursday, August 22, 5:30-8pm (panel begins at 6pm)
Closing Reception / Call to Action on Saturday, August 24th, 2-5pm

The original construction of Interstate 81 devastated a neighborhood that was home to Syracuse’s working-class black community, previously known as the 15th ward.  It severed the social fabric of the community, destroyed swaths of buildings, and physically isolated the south side of Syracuse from wealthier neighborhoods. It contributed to the severe racial segregation of public schools by limiting housing access and facilitating white flight. The replacement of I-81 presents an opportunity to right the wrongs of the past. The new construction can either entrench existing segregation or it can create openings to rebuild Syracuse to become more racially and socioeconomically integrated.

This installation seeks to put a human face on this massive infrastructure project. The history of I-81 is not the story of a construction project, but one about families, communities, and discrimination.

About the exhibitors:
Shane Lavalette photographs with a quiet urgency that considers the implications of urban planning decisions surrounding I-81, the voices of those affected in the process, and the economic and racial divides shaped by the inherent politics of architecture. Lavalette is an American photographer and the director of Light Work, a non-profit photography organization in Syracuse, New York. He holds a BFA from Tufts University in partnership with The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Lavalette’s photographs have been shown widely, including exhibitions at the High Museum of Art, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, Aperture Foundation, Montserrat College of Art, The Carpenter Center for Visual Arts at Harvard University, The Center for Photography at Woodstock, Kaunas Gallery, Le Château d’Eau, Fotostiftung Schweiz, Musée de l’Elysée, and Robert Morat Galerie, in addition to being held in private and public collections. His work has been featured by The New York Times, TIME, NPR, CNN, The Telegraph, Foam Magazine, Hotshoe, among other publications. He is the author of two monographs: One Sun, One Shadow, self-published in 2016, and Still (Noon), published by Edition Patrick Frey in 2018. Lavalette is represented by Robert Morat Galerie in Berlin and We Folk agency in London/New York.
Marjory W. Wilkins (1929-2011), whose photographs have been selected by the artist and will be exhibited alongside Lavalette’s work, spent her lifetime photographing in Syracuse. Wilkins’ pictures of the 15th Ward, taken as early as 1940, demonstrate the vibrant and thriving African-American neighborhood of the time.
The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) is proud to present an exhibit of hundreds of archived documents during the construction of Interstate 81 and the destruction of a neighborhood. The exhibit includes a series of events and ways for people to take action to ensure that replacing the viaduct is done in a fair way that listens to Syracuse residents. NYCLU is New York’s oldest and largest defender of civil rights and civil liberties. The state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, we have more than 200,000 members and supporters across New York. Our Central New York chapter, headquartered in Syracuse, was founded in 1963 by New Yorkers experiencing the construction of the I-81 viaduct and is committed to fighting for racial, economic, and environmental justice in Syracuse.

The production of Shane Lavalette’s work was made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by CNY Arts. The artist would like to express gratitude Lanessa Chaplin and the NYCLU for a thoughtful collaboration, and to Light Work Lab for the printing of all photographs in the exhibition. Additional thanks: Caroline Smith, First Look Media/Topic, Kris Graves, Victor Rivera, Daniel Schwarz (Privacy and Technology Strategist, NYCLU), Johanna Miller (Director of Education, NYCLU), Yusuf Abdul-Qadir (Central New York Chapter Director, NYCLU)