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Geneva’s public arts committee seeks resident feedback

The City of Geneva’s Public Art Committee is seeking resident feedback on ten proposed “Agents of Change” quotes as part of the City’s upcoming Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) Streetscape project.

The selected quotes will be etched into concrete seatwalls located along Castle St. The ten proposed quotes were chosen from an archive of local history documents by students in the 4th and 5th grade at North Street School and college students at Hobart and William Smith colleges in 2017-2018. The collaboration was part of a larger The People’s History of Geneva K-12 Curriculum Project, a multi-year collaboration between Geneva City Schools, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and the Geneva Historical Society. The goal of the project was to work with teachers and local residents of Geneva, NY to bring multi-cultural local history into the city’s K-12 social studies curriculum.

In the summer of 2017, the project staff hosted a three-day professional development workshop for Geneva City teachers. A group of three 4th and 5th grade teachers expressed their desire to craft a local history curriculum unit that examined local leaders and taught basic research skills. Guided by project director, and Public Art Committee member, Elizabeth Belanger and local historian Anne Daley, the GSCD staff members identified potential individuals or groups in the past who had been “agents of change” in Geneva. Belanger researched the individuals and groups, ultimately presenting 12 possible “agents of change” to the teachers. The teachers chose the individuals/groups they felt were most appropriate for classroom use and devised a curriculum for their students. In the fall of 2017, 4th and 5th graders at North Street school partnered with students in Belanger’s Community Based Research class to research and present on the history of these individuals/groups.

The suggested “Agents of Change” quotes for Geneva’s DRI Streetscape project emerged from the students’ research, and are quotes students identified as expressing the beliefs and values of their speakers, and representing the long history of human rights in Geneva. The ten quotes can be viewed on the City’s website. Any resident wishing to submit feedback on the proposed quotes can email City Planner Katie Labbe at [email protected] by March 19.

The Geneva Public Art Committee is composed of seven members of the Geneva community. There are currently open positions on the committee. Please inquire with Katie Labbe at [email protected] if you would like to get involved in the committee.