In 1893, at this very building on Geddes Street, in our city's awesome westside neighborhood, the E. C. Stearns Bicycle Agency was established by industrialist Edward C. Stearns, who began his business as a hardware manufacturer, then branched out into bicycle production from 1893 through 1899.
Stearns was manufacturing the popular "Yellow Fellow" by 1895. This model was manufactured by the thousands at the the plant and made the name of the city familiar in almost every corner of the world, as the slogan read "The Yellow Fellow from Syracuse."
After becoming one of the best sport riders in this "section", Stearns soon developed several of the "best selling models of the bicycle era. He employed "noted" riders to "race his product", few of them any better riders than he. His models became so popular they were in demand throughout the world. At one time, the Co. had four plants in Syracuse and 3,500 employees.
By 1896, Yellow Fellow production was at an all-time high and "the smoke poured from the chimneys of the Stearns company." Carloads were shipped from Syracuse bearing huge posters that read, "Yellow Fellows, made in Syracuse," followed by the name of the dealer in some distant city.
In addition to the racing bike, the YF model was produced in one-seater, two-seater tandems, triplets and sextets! This mural is a commemoration of this little slice of local history, with a contemporary twist! We hope you've enjoyed it's evolution with nearly 80hrs of combined artist input!
This is only 1 of 12 murals slated for production of the course of 12 weeks this fall, please consider spreading the news and please find some time to contribute to our project crowd fund!
Syracuse NY, August 27th, 2018 – the artists, supporters, and organizers behind the Syracuse-based public arts instigation effort 315Alive have announced a press conference on Wednesday, September 12th, 2018 at 11:00 am to coincide with the completion of their mural effort at 214 S. Geddes St. in Syracuse.
The S. Geddes mural, the first of twelve planned for city walls through November 1st, commemorates the location and local history of the factory of the E. C. Stearns Bicycle Agency on the Near Westside, with a contemporary twist.
The coalition of artists, residents, business owners, community organizers and organizations has pooled its collective energy to awaken the arts in Syracuse, NY in hopes of driving for real and permanent support of public arts. To that end, they are attempting to develop, fund, and execute 12 Murals in 12 Weeks!
“For a few years now, we’ve watched as cities like Philadelphia, Miami, Sacramento, and others realize the benefits of vibrant and diverse installations of murals and other forms of public art,” says Cliff Carey, local business owner 315Alive organizer, “We hope to not only instigate more public art, like this mural, but to support a more long term commitment to frequent, appropriate, and lasting projects across our city.”
As project lead and co-owner of Spark Contemporary Arts Space, Jacob Roberts has dedicated over 70 hours on the Geddes St. site, both painting and mentoring a team of artists getting some of their first experience installing a mural of its scale. “Public art connects people to the greater community and to one another -a kind of connective tissue that starts bringing us closer together.”
And it appears to be working as more and more artists are drawn to the project, the community has begun to help fund the effort. Through a GoFundMe campaign, the group has raised nearly 10% of their project goal. When combined with corporate sponsorships and investments from companies and organizations, the group plans to pay every artist who participates a respectable, if not modest stipend.
Up next for the organizers is the execution of 5-6 sites located in Syracuse’s developing Downtown business corridor, which the group hopes will raise awareness, and more funding, for artists and volunteers involved. Site concepts are currently under review by the City’s Public Art Commission.
And this is all part of something bigger, as Carey explains, “Its written plainly in the City’s Public Art Plan a desire to work with arts organizations and the business community to identify other methods for obtaining resources to support public art.”
Roberts sees long term potential in the short-term project, “We’ve started a volunteer working group to consider the establishment of a Public Arts Trust which could aggregate and direct funding, a percent for the arts for instance, toward generating needed resources toward our community’s growing public art portfolio.’