My Hometown Banner Project puts schoolchildren's work around Oswego


May 30, 2018

A partnership between SUNY Oswego and the Oswego City School District to showcase the work of young artists became a soaring reality as dozens of banners featuring the work of local schoolchildren now appear around Oswego.

The My Hometown Banner Project's banners feature 50 works of art by public school students on view around Breitbeck Park, Washington Square Park, Lake Street and City Hall throughout the summer and early fall except during special events such as Harborfest.

Drawn from a summer 2017 exhibition at SUNY Oswego's Tyler Art Gallery, the banners celebrate the Oswego City School District’s visual art program and honor the talent of young artists from each school.

The 2017 exhibition at the college featured 300 pieces by students at all grade levels. From this pool, 50 works were chosen for the public banners, made possible by funding from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation as well as support from the SUNY Oswego art department, the City of Oswego and the Oswego City School District.

The My Hometown Banner Project’s primary purpose is to provide public space for the display of artwork by K-12 students. The project’s goal is to showcase Oswego as a vibrant and creative community through the visual expressions of its younger citizens, and empower students to use visual art to tell their stories and create sites of public memory. Organizers also hope it inspires members of the community to continue to support the role of the arts in Oswego's vitality.

Participants span all seven city schools: Charles E. Riley Elementary, Frederick Leighton Elementary, Fitzhugh Park Elementary, Kingsford Park Elementary, Minetto Elementary, Oswego Middle School and Oswego High School.

Team effort

In summer 2016, the school district art teachers met with project organizers from SUNY Oswego to discuss a collaborative relationship and where such a partnership might lead. Working together, this effort became the My Hometown Banner Project. Flexible by design, the project creates space for teachers to contribute in ways that make sense for their school. Participants also include teachers from At the Art Studio, a campus-based workshop program also supported in part by the Shineman Foundation.

The project was planned in stages that include an exhibition in a professional art gallery, jurying by professionals, selecting work to feature on banners and the recycling and selling of banners to help provide funding to continue the project.

The latest selections for the My Hometown Banner Project -- and potential banners appearing around the city in the future -- are in an exhibition running until June 16 in SUNY Oswego's Tyler Art Gallery with hours of noon to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and a free public opening exhibition from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, June 1.

Banner days -- Pieces created by local schoolchildren in the My Hometown Banner Project, which began as a collaboration between SUNY Oswego and the Oswego City School District, fly here at Breitbeck Park, as well around Washington Square Park, Lake Street and City Hall in Oswego this summer.