Author name: Peg Johnston

DPA: Two New Murals on Glenwood Ave

Two murals created at Mural Fest and used here on a boarded up building as part of a blight mitigation project funded by the Chenango Co Arts Council, NYS Decentralization grant and the Hoyt Foundation. The Dept of Public Art, a group of volunteers dedicated to public art, are placing original murals on boarded up properties in Binghamton, in an attempt to bring attention to buildings that can be re-purposed and to bring art to neighborhoods with blighted properties. Three other properties have been chosen for new murals and artists may submit proposals by August 19th. Info

Photo Left mural panel  painted by Jesse Ryan, and on the right by Mural Arts Students, Bracken, Zizak and Yetsko.

Metro Center Mall Development

The Metro Center Mall is an open space encompassing approximately 112,000 square feet, and as its name implies, is at the heart of downtown Binghamton. Mayor David’s plan for this much needed renovation includes ten parking places, and I’m assuming, a connecting roadway intersecting Court Street. It is unclear what would remain for other features to attract people to that area because no artist’s rendering of the project has been offered to the public, as is standard procedure with municipal projects. Taxpayers and residents are entitled to see what is in the Mayor’s mind’s eye and to be assured even he has a clear concept of his proposal. Consideration need be given to vehicle traffic flow and dead end snow removal.

[ Editor's note: We have been notified by a reader that an architectural/engineering plan has been circulated within City Hall and to the appropriate review boards, and a copy of this plan is available at ]

I have never had difficulty parking downtown, and using our City’s most valuable blank canvas for such a mundane purpose lacks vision. There is no valid reason to rush into this project, and it only seems fair that the citizens of our recovering city be shown more creative, cosmopolitan, options that could provide dynamic and signature images for our Downtown.

In such a creative community, I suggest alternative proposals be developed and submitted to groups, who will evaluate them seriously, before providing them to our local news media for public engagement, and ensuring there is more than one choice available. Something needs to be done, and hopefully the melding of imaginative ideas and transparency will draw funding.   

A Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement by Alicia Garza

This is the herstory of the origin of #BlackLivesMatter movement, and a critique of those who have tried to co-opt the movement. She concludes that Black Lives Matter needs solidarity not "watered down unity."  An important read! –ed

I created #BlackLivesMatter with Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, two of my sisters, as a call to action for Black people after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was post-humously placed on trial for his own murder and the killer, George Zimmerman, was not held accountable for the crime he committed. It was a response to the anti-Black racism that permeates our society and also, unfortunately, our movements.

Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.  It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.

Continue reading here:

Light Painting Live: Stephen Schweitzer

Light Painting Performance Opens Gallery’s Fifth Weekend Series


            Stephen Schweitzer will present a light painting exhibit on Saturday May 30th, 2015 at 8 pm at the Cooperative Gallery 213 State St. The event is free and open to the public although donations for the artist will be welcomed.

            “Live light painting is an immediate and collaborative process not unlike a traditional painting where each light image is added over time to create a final piece,” according to Schweitzer who has been experimenting with the art form for several years. The audience can see the painting with the aid of a high powered HD projector in real time. Lucem Picturae is Schweitzer’s project and in this performance he is presenting experimental techniques using dance, music, and new computer technology. A sample of his work can be accessed here.

            Also on display will be Select Murals from Mural Fest 2015, which represent some illustrious international artists including Damien Mitchell of Australia, Nic707 of NYC, and the Indigo Arts Collective of Brooklyn. These murals are available for property owners who have a boarded up building in one of Binghamton’s neighborhoods under the Dept. of Public Art’s blight mitigation art project funded by Chenango Co Arts Council and the Hoyt Foundation. “The goal is to use abandoned buildings as a canvas for art which will draw attention to their potential and will brighten up neighborhoods with boarded up properties, explained Peg Johnston of the DPA. The murals can be viewed Friday May 29th from 3-6 pm and Saturday 12-4 pm at the Cooperative Gallery 213 State St. Binghamton. Interested property owners should contact for more information.

            The Cooperative Gallery is utilizing the occasional “Fifth Weekend” in the gallery schedule to showcase innovative or special weekend only shows. Previously the gallery used the Fifth Weekend for the Marche’ Art Sale and to make needed renovations and repairs. “This is an effort to bring in new energy and explore artistic ideas in our community,” commented Kit Ashman vice president of the Cooperative Gallery. Future ideas are a posthumous exhibit of Ruth Harasta’s art, a dance performance, and light painting workshops. For more information see gallery’s Facebook page, website, or call 724-3462.





Want a Mural? Free Art for Boarded up Properties

Mural Fest 2015 (April 26th) created about 30 Movable Murals on 4 X 8' panels to be affixed to boarded up properties in Binghamton neighborhoods. The first installation will be on a building on Chenango Street consisting of 11 food themed murals, given the Northside's lack of a grocery store. The Dept. of Public Art expects to install and celebrate the murals in May.

Other murals are available for property owners who have a boarded up building. And some of the available murals have been painted by world famous artists such as Damien Mitchell, or Nic707, and the Indigo Arts Collective of Brooklyn. Several of the murals were on display at the State St. Block Party. Photos of the murals are available.

If you know of a building that would qualify, please contact Property owners must promise to notify the DPA if the building is renovated, re-purposed, or torn down, so that the mural can be put on another building.

B Mets looking for artists: June 5th

The Binghamton Mets are sponsoring an art night on Friday, June 5th, and are looking for artists who would like to participate. Mural painting will be live by Dexter Holmes, a local artist, will begin painting the murals on Friday, May 8th.  Invitations will go out to mural artists, mosaics designers, photographers, and painters. These artists will be able to display their work and offer it for sale.

According to Jim MAggiore: "We have plenty of room in the concourse for artists to display/sell their work and are hoping we get interest from many artists. All artists who display/sell their work in the concourse will receive two vouchers for admittance into the stadium that night. I know some of you have put information in your newsletter and/or your web site. Let me know if you need any other information from me to get the word out. Artists can sign up by sending an email to or by calling me at 607-722-9227."

A pre-game ceremony will take place on May, June 5th at 6:30. This will be the grand opening of the murals. Free vouchers for game tickets will be offered at First Fridays.

For more information, contact Jim Maggiore: 607-722-9227,


Mural Fest a Hit!

31 artists, 7 bands, and huge crowds. The Dept. of Public Art painted 11 panels that will be placed on a boarded up building on Chenango Street in Binghamton. All the panels depict a food theme to make a point about how much the Northside needs a source of fresh food. The installation will be announced on this website. For more photos of the event go to the Dept of Public Art Facebook page.

The Movable Murals on boarded up properties is a new project to “take art into neighborhoods with abandoned buildings,” according to Peg Johnston of the DPA. “As these buildings are re-purposed we can move the mural panels to other locations where property owners request them.” It is supported by grants from the Chenango Co Arts Council and the Hoyt Foundation. *

*The Broome, Chenango & Otsego Decentralization (DEC) Program is administered by the Chenango Arts Council, and is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature. Additional support for Broome County provided by the Stewart W. & Willma C. Hoyt Foundation.


Ukrainian anti-fascists are calling on people around the world to mark May 2 as a day of commemoration of those who were killed in the trade union building in Odessa.
On May 2, 2014 there was a bloody massacre in Odessa where, though data is incomplete, at least 48 people were killed. Some of them were burned alive in the House of Trade Unions. The organizers of the massacre were radical Ukrainian nationalists and fascists who support the regime established in the Kiev after the coup in February 2014. Their opponents were the participants of the Antimaydan movement opposed to Ukrainian fascism. They belonged to different political tendencies, but opposition to Ukrainian fascism united them. It was they who were the main victims of the massacre on the May 2. Fleeing from the crowd of aggressive and armed fascists which greatly outnumbered them, the Antimaydan activists tried to take refuge in the House of Trade Unions located near their camp. They were largely without weapons, as they consistently preferred peaceful forms of protest. The enemy attacked the House of Trade Unions with Molotov cocktails, igniting a fire that caused many of those inside the building to flee outside. There, angry Ukrainian fascists beat and killed them. Others who observed this remained inside until they either burned to death, suffocated or jumped out of windows to their deaths. Others who remained inside were hunted down and murdered in cold blood. Local fire service deliberately did not go to the assistance of the desperate people and when it finally arrived, the fascists did not let the fire trucks or firefighters approach the burning building.
The ruling government of Ukraine is doing everything to hide and distort the truth about this crime. The official list of dead people has not been published yet. The results of forensic examination of the causes of deaths are classified and were not disclosed until recently. None of the perpetrators of the massacre has been arrested; the state prosecutor's office deliberately ignores numerous videos proving their guilt. Instead, people who tried to defend the House of Trade Unions have been arrested and put on trial. Though the investigation found no evidence of their guilt, the court refuses to set them free. Official propaganda since the day of tragedy has spread lies like “the House of Trade Unions was not protected by people from Odessa but by citizens of Transnistria and Russian saboteurs”, calls these people terrorists and separatists even though the leaders of the Odessa’s "Antimaydan" never called for the separation of the Odessa region from Ukraine. But various supporters of this Kiev regime replicate this lie all over the world.
The Odessa tragedy is just one act in the civil war the Kiev fascists launched last spring against its own people that. This is not the only event of its kind. The atrocities of the fascists on May 9, 2014 in Mariupol, massive bloodshed in the Donbass, sadistic treatment of war prisoners, deliberate destruction of vital facilities in the Donbass, the recent excesses of Ukrainian soldiers in Konstantinovka (Kostyantynivka) – all of them are the links of the same chain. This is a manifestation of the bloody totalitarian nature of the regime in Kiev, established in the heart of Europe with the blessing of western political leaders. But the Odessa massacre became a symbol of these atrocities. In Odessa, the Kiev regime's political opponents asserted their own rights without weapons, by peaceful means and they were ruthlessly suppressed with astonishing cruelty and cynicism. The task of all progressive forces of the world is to demonstrate their condemnation and rejection of such methods.
The Kiev regime wants to forcibly impose on the entire population of Ukraine its system of values which totally rejects the Soviet period in the history of Ukraine. It is based on the traditions of Ukrainian integral nationalism, which is the local Ukrainian variant of fascist ideology. These ideas of integral nationalism inspired such figures as Stepan Bandera. For a significant part of Ukrainian society, such attitudes are unacceptable. That is why opposition appeared. Despite all the repression, people have been fighting against the reactionaries and actively looking for an alternative. But the forces of resistance in Ukraine are split, and some of them are not guided by consistently democratic principles. Some of them receive help from Russian nationalists and therefore think that the alternative to Ukrainian fascism is Russian nationalism. But this is wrong and a dead end road. Therefore, the solidarity of international left forces with the liberation struggle against the Kiev regime will help the people of see they have friends and strengthen the democratic tendencies in the camp of resistance.
Finally, solidarity of leftist and internationalist forces is important not only for Ukraine. Now we see the rise of right-wing reactionary movements around the world. In many European countries, neo-fascists are growing in popularity, the youth are joining their parties, and they are gaining more and more votes. Totalitarianism has intensified everywhere and gone on the offensive. The civil war in Ukraine is just one of many episodes of offensive of international reaction forces. But this episode is very revealing. Ukraine is a European country and it in this European country that for the first time in the 21st century that fascists have entered a government while fascist paramilitaries have received legal status in the army and other state authorities. We can resist this attack on our principles and values together, combining our efforts all round the world.
Therefore, we propose to make May 2 a day of international solidarity in defense of democracy and internationalism in Ukraine. To this end, we urge the leftist forces around the world to hold in early May actions of solidarity with the liberation struggle of the working masses of Ukraine. This can be a picket, a march, a meeting, a round table and any other action which would be considered appropriate by activists not indifferent to the problems of Ukraine. From our side, our initiative group will contribute to the dissemination of information about these actions in the media.
Ivan Melekhov
Jeanne Camus
Yefim Mironov
Stanislav Yushchenko

Mural Fest Attracts 31 Artists, Performers, Vendors, Sponsors

Mural Fest 2015 will involve 31 artists, several bands, both amplified and acoustic, vendors, and tabling with art. Several illustrious artists from out of town will do demonstrations of mural painting. The Dept of Public Art is painting 11 panels on a food theme for a boarded up building on Chenango Street, and other artists will paint other designs. Several area businesses are sponsoring the mural fest and a cut out of a hot air balloon will bear the name of the sponsors. So far, the sponsors include Belknap Lumber, Kovarik Hardware, Cooperative Gallery, Orion Beauty, Lost Dog, Galaxy Brewing, Zona Grill, Water St. Brewing, Burger Mondays, The Shop. The Belmar is providing food for artists and volunteers are encouraged to bring food for the artists and performers. Mural Fest will take place on Sunday from 12-5 pm on the Riverwalk, by RiverRead Books, down to the MLK Promenade.

The Fest is also being supported by Broome County, the City of Binghamton, and Gorgeous Washington Street Assn.  It is sponsored by reBold Binghamton and the Dept of Public Art (Ctr for Gender, Art, and Culture).

Neighborhood Clean-Ups

Is your street littered with winter time detritus, flyaway re-cycling, and other stuff not to be dwelled on? If you live on the near Westside it is. At least 3 or 4 groups of neighborhood residents are talking about taking to the streets with brooms and bags to clean up. Speaking of brooms, one group focusing on Walnut and Seminary Streets are collecting brooms:

"If you have an extra broom in your basement or garage, please donate it to a community clean up effort. The brooms will be used to sweep sidewalks and curbs on whole blocks of the west side, then given to everyone who wants to keep the front of their home or business clean.  Drop off those brooms at the American Legion parking lot, 76 Main Street on Sunday, April 19, 10 AM – 12 noon."

Another group is adding recycling tips to a door hanger in the neighborhood, encouraging residents to clean up their properties and join in. A DRAFT of the door hanger flyer is attached. ALL DETAILS ARE NOT FINAL; Check this space for more details or email us at binghamtonbridge@gmail and we will pass on what info we have.



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