A small group of artists has posted a 1940’s picture of a young couple on abandoned structures around Binghamton in an effort to replace the depressing blight with visually interesting images. “We are calling this “The Happiness Project,” said one of the artists, who prefers to remain anonymous, “because the image is so fresh and joyous. We believe that neglected areas in Binghamton need an infusion of happiness and hope.” The artists envision a series of posted photographs that capture the same mood of happiness in diverse subjects.
Many cities have created an atmosphere of support and tolerance for public art often with the result of economic stimulation as people flock to see locally generated creativity in the urban landscape. Public art festivals have popped up in several cities bringing in tourism dollars and revitalizing abandoned buildings. The magazine Juxtapoz (May 2012) published an editorial in support of public art pointing out, “Art simply makes communities better, creating pride and thought provoking discourse.”
The Happiness Project artists further comment: “We see these Happiness posters as an improvement to dilapidated buildings and eyesores, not as a defacement of private property. While these structures are a hallmark of poverty and economic downturn, our spirits need not be impoverished. We are especially interested in local, historic images that remind us of our heritage and sense of place. If fellow citizens want to suggest locations for future enhancement or propose images we encourage them to communicate with us through the binghamtonbridge.org site, a progressive community news site that does not log IP addresses. We are not affiliated with any organization or group, but are individuals taking the initiative to make public art in Binghamton.”
Posters have, so far, been spotted on State St., Water St., Clinton St. and Glenwood Ave.
We just wrapped up our Summer Youth Employment Program and have plans to hire a youth assistant during the Fall and Spring. We have begun to erect a smaller hoophouse for storing our transplants and the larger greenhouse will be converted into a more intensive,extended season growing space.
Varick, the portion of land behind Tudor St that we lease from the City of Binghamton, has begun development. Our 2012 summer youth crew built sheet mulched beds and bio-intensive beds that will provide more growing space in the spring.
Our farm stand is growing as well! Every Wednesday from 4-6pm we sell freshly harvested vegetables and get to meet more and more of our neighbors. Some of the produce
A date has been set for a discussion of the book Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity--A Community Resilience Guide by Michael Shuman. Peg Johnston put out a call for people to read this book "because the missing piece for development of Binghamton is often the lack of capital--there has to be ways for ordinary people to invest locally."
This will be the kickoff for a new community gathering, the Binghamton Cabaret, styled after the Science Cabaret. Topics relating to Binghamton development will be offered for open discussion, regularly on the Third Tuesday of the month (with changes for holidays) at the Lost Dog Cafe Violet Room. David Sloan Wilson of the Binghamton Neighborhood Project and David Currie of BRSC invite the public to the Binghamton Cabaret.
Participants may have dinner at the Lost Dog ahead of the meeting or just attend the meeting at 7:30pm
You can give input to the signage designs for the Rail Trails:
BMTS is in need of your input and opinion in the development of the Greenway Sign Plan and Design Guide. For project details, see “About the Greenway Sign Plan & Design Guide” at the bottom of this email.
We request that you go to the website at https://sites.google.com/site/bmtsgreenway/, click inside the photo above “Design Decisions”, and take just a few minutes to fill out the survey regarding the regional greenway system (RAIL TRAIL) name, sign design, and logo design.
Please complete the survey by Monday, July 16th. That will allow our consultants to provide another draft of logos for comment in advance of our working meeting with them, tentatively scheduled for July 26th.
About the Greenway Sign Plan & Design Guide
BMTS is contracting for professional services to create a Sign Plan and Design Guide for the Greater Binghamton Greenway (GBG) regional walking and biking trail system located within the Binghamton Urban Area. This task is included in the 2012-2013 BMTS Unified Planning Work Program, and will be funded by Federal Highway Administration Metropolitan Planning Program funds.
The overall objective of the project is to have this trail system recognized as a regional, contiguous system, as well as facilitate user access to and circulation throughout the GBG, by creating a uniform design & plan for wayfinding, regulatory, warning, and interpretive signing. The geographic region of the study will include the Binghamton Metropolitan Transportation Study (BMTS) Urban Area Boundary.
Listen folks, calling a homophobic bigot a bigot is not bullying, just like calling a racist a racist or a misogynist a misogynist, isn’t bullying. And students and teachers actively working to create a school that is free from homophobia certainly isn’t bullying, it’s heroism. However, there have been several statements by public figures lately that have suggested that challenging injustice is a kind of reverse prejudice. For example, Fr. Johannes M. M. Smith wrote an opinion piece last month, responding to my comments at the June Pride flag raising at City Hall in which I stated that coming to our celebration and calling the gay and lesbian residents of this City the "exaltation of immorality", "perversion", "Satanic", a "scandalous abomination" and in league with the "principalities of darkness" was bullying. He suggested in his statement that my characterization of him was libelous and bullying. It was not. And then last week at the Vestal School Board, in response to the passionate efforts to remove Tennessee State Senator Stacey Campfield’s picture from the school’s Wall of Fame for his homophobia, and inaccurate statements about the transmission of HIV/AIDS, the board president Ms. Meyer similarly suggested that these efforts were bullying. They are not.
Speaking truth to power is not bullying. But continuing to celebrate a homophobic bigot and forcing your gay and lesbian students to walk by his picture every day is. Taking away privileges (or honors) because of bad behavior is something teachers and schools are familiar with. It should be a pretty easy call for educators that hurting gay kids (as research shows the Senator's statements actually do) is bad behavior. But just in case you’re not sure, on July 1st, the Dignity for All Students act became law in New York. This law mandates that schools intervene whenever possible to correct and prevent bullying and harassment and protect gay and lesbian kids (along with so many others that are often the targets of bullies). Let’s hope the Vestal School Board does their job and implements this law to the fullest and makes Vestal Schools safe for all their students.
Dr. Sean G. Massey
Faculty in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies
June 24, 2012
Do you really know Gandhi or even Martin Luther King, Jr.? You may think you do, but I believe that in some cases, we need to demystify our heroes so that we can more easily support their actions.
Recently we at teachpeacenow.org were given a little book, What Gandhi Says About Nonviolence, Resistance And Courage by Norman G. Finkelstein, to review. The book is quite readable as it “fleshes out” the self-contradictory nature of this Indian icon who nonviolently led his people to independence from imperial England. Subsequently, Gandhi’s actions served as a template for M.L.K., Jr.’s anti-segregation mission in southern America. Appropriately, both men are held in the highest esteem worldwide. I wonder if their mythic stories have inadvertently caused some of us to feel less able to emulate them.