SUNY Oswego Downtown opens at West First and Bridge

storefrontSUNY Oswego opened the doors on its first presence in downtown Oswego on Thursday, Oct. 4.

The college has signed a four-year lease for space in the building on the southwest corner of Oswego’s historic business center, the intersection of West First and Bridge streets. The college’s Auxiliary Services will staff and operate the site, which was a bank for many years and more recently a gallery.

“It really is an anchor for downtown,” said Michael Flaherty, Auxiliary Services manager.

He said SUNY Oswego Downtown will sell emblematic merchandise, display art work by faculty and students, host receptions when exhibitions open, provide information about events and programs happening on campus together with parking information and, eventually, provide a ticket outlet for a variety of campus events, from intercollegiate ice hockey games to chamber music concerts by visiting musicians to student theatre productions.

The first art exhibition is slated to open Oct. 31 under the direction of Julieve Jubin of the art department and her students. “The space was previously a gallery, so it was basically in move-in condition,” Flaherty said.

Jubin said the exhibition of work by the 10 students in her Studio Practicum class would be on display until the end of the semester in December. The students will prepare the gallery space, install the artwork and publicize the exhibition, she said.

The college’s arts programming coordinator, Mary Avrakotos, has been part of a campus group meeting to plan the new venture. “The opportunity to have this arm out into the community is really great,” she said. “I think it’s exciting.”

Hours for the college’s downtown site are still to be determined based on customer needs, Flaherty said.

“The community will see this evolve over time,” Avrakotos predicted.

She foresees the site “creating a wonderful synergy” with “our students going downtown for selected projects and activities” and community organizations and businesses finding ways to interact with the new college presence. When the Oswego Film Group shows a movie, it might hold its post-screening discussion there, she suggested.

“And hopefully we will be a good neighbor to the River’s End Bookstore which has created a cultural anchor downtown,” she added.

For his part, Bill Reilly, who owns and operates the bookstore across Bridge Street from the college’s new outlet, said, “I’ve just been over the top with enthusiasm about it since I first heard about it. We think it’s all extremely positive for this central commercial district of our historic downtown. We also think it’s a great stride forward in bringing town and gown together.”

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(Posted: Oct 03, 2007)