Marion Wilson, associate professor and director of community initiatives in the visual arts, is one of five Syracuse University community members who will receive the Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence at a campus ceremony and reception in their honor on Monday, April 1.
The Chancellor’s Citation awards were first presented in 1979 in recognition of outstanding achievement in teaching, scholarship and creative work. Over time, the focus of the awards has changed to reflect new priorities and institutional directions. The emphasis on excellence and outstanding achievement remains unchanged. Each year, members of the University community are invited to nominate a colleague or co-worker for recognition. A selection committee composed of faculty and staff from across campus reviews the nominations, and award winners are honored each spring.
All five honorees will receive a special art object, along with a citation statement recognizing his or her accomplishments.
About Marion Wilson
As the director of community initiatives in the visual arts in the School of Education at Syracuse University, Wilson works in the Near West Side, where she promotes the coproduction of culture in collaboration with the city schools, the neighborhood and SU.
Wilson, who is also an associate professor of art, design and transmedia in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, is the founder of 601 Tully, a center for engaged artistic practice that houses an international art gallery, incubates high school entrepreneurship and offers neighborhood barista certification classes in its Recess Cafe West. 601 Tully is a living sculpture where artists, community members and scholars engage in the coproduction of culture.
The building at 601 Tully was an abandoned residence that had become a neighborhood drug zone. Students in Wilson’s “Social Sculpture: 601 Tully Design/Build” class (students from the School of Architecture, College of Visual and Performing Arts, School of Education, Creative Writing Program, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Fowler High School) were responsible for re-zoning, designing, building and sustaining the program. 601 Tully opened to the public in June 2011.
“Marion’s work at 601 Tully has been a major catalyst for the arts-based community engagement in the neighborhood,” says Maarten Jacobs, director of the Near West Side Initiative. “Her commitment, and the commitment of her students, to the residents of the community has been unwavering. 601 Tully has been a shining example of how creative people can find creative ways to unite diverse groups of individuals together for the greater good of a community.”
601 Tully is also made possible by the support of the Syracuse University School of Education, The Kauffman Foundation, The Near West Side Initiative, Imagining America, Home HeadQuarters Inc., Say Yes to Education and National Grid.
Wilson devised her “Social Sculpture” interdisciplinary curriculum in 2007. She conceptualized and directed the construction of the Mobile Literacy Arts Bus (MLAB), a 1984 Winnebago that was converted into a mobile classroom by a team of art, architecture and design students. MLAB was born as a physical space for use as a mobile classroom, digital photo lab, gallery space, radio, publishing house and community center for students in the Syracuse City School District. The bus also offered creative art, photography and writing programming during afterschool programs for elementary students through Say Yes to Education, and a conversation and creativity space for young women in high school through an MLAB-developed program, Girl Talk.
“With a holistic approach, Marion follows the projects from conceptualization to completion to sustainable implementation,” says Sarah McCoubrey, professor of art, design and transmedia in the School of Art and Design in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “This includes building a web of partners, operating with a modest budget and employing former students to ensure continuity and integrity of the project as they are brought to full realization.”
Wilson also maintains an art studio and art practice in New York City. She has had exhibitions or completed public commissions for New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York City; KK Art Projects, New Orleans; Dorsky Gallery, NYC; and Shroeder Romero Gallery, Exit Art, Cheryl Pelavin Fine Arts and Sculpture Center, NYC; Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo; SPACES in Cleveland; and SCOPE Miami/Art Basel in Miami.
Wilson received a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University, a master’s degree in pedagogical studies from Columbia University, and an M.F.A. from the University of Cincinnati.