Exhibit Displays Current Photos Of I-81 Alongside Historic Photos Of The 15th Ward

Aug 19, 2019

Shane Lavalette's photography will be on display at ArtRage Gallery until Saturday.
Credit Katie Zilcosky / WAER News

A new exhibit at ArtRage Gallery brings the current photography of Shane Lavalette into the same room as historic photography from Marjory W. Wilkins. Both of them photographing Syracuse, in the area where Interstate 81 now stands, but at different times.


Wilkins' photographs tell the story of what the 15th Ward was before the construction of the interstate: a working-class community, tightly knit and mostly people of color. Lavalette's photography shows the way Interstate 81 shaped the city with images taken around the viaduct's path.

Marjory Wilkins photographed Syracuse for all her life. Her photos remain some of the most vivid accounts of the 15th Ward.
Credit Katie Zilcosky / WAER News

The New York Civil Liberties Union has a display of archived documents relating to I-81 also as part of the exhibit. It includes maps, newspaper articles, and state documents dating back to the early 1900s. 

ArtRage is the exhibit's third, and perhaps final stop. The NYCLU's Lanessa Chaplin says the organization has brought this exhibit to different areas of New York.

"We brought it to Albany for lobby day," Chaplin said. "We had a workshop and a panel on I-81 and the effects of I-81. We thought it was important to bring to Albany because this is a state issue, so we don't want to just localized it here to Syracuse. And to also bring attention to it."

Chaplin continued, "And then we took it took it to New York City. We did a presentation there for three days as a part of the ACLU 100, which is our national organization. And so every state, they all came to New York City, and we all had a presentation. We decided to present on I-81."

A Shadow Cast: Interstate 81 will close on Saturday. But while it's in Syracuse, there will a number of events that accompany the exhibit throughout the week at ArtRage. ArtRage is open to the public from 11 a.m to 6 p.m., and the exhibit is free. 

Exhibit Related Events:

  • Tuesday August 20th: Film Screening 5:30-8 p.m. (screening begins at 6 p.m.)
  • Thursday August 22nd: Panel Discussion 5:30-8pm (panel begins at 6 p.m.)
  • Saturday August 24th: Closing Reception/ Call To Action: 2-5 p.m.

The NYCLU has printed stickers that can be attached to postcards as comments that will be sent to New York State Department of Transportation
Credit Katie Zilcosky / WAER News