Jerk Awards 2012


Illustrations by Bridget Ginley ARIST OF THE YEAR: TY MARSHALL

Ty Marshal, the Tech Garden’s curator and first artist in residence (no, he doesn’t actually live there), has been busy exploring and creating art in Syracuse. He’s dabbled in a little bit of everything, most recently working on the Cardiff Giant, Salon: Strictly Local, and Patently Syracuse. Jerk and Marshal play a quick game of word association.

Artist: People not striving to be normal, but people striving to be themselves.

Syracuse: A vibrant city on the cusp of revitalization. A place of renaissance.

Revitalization: Making that which is old new again. Activating culture. Brightening spirits.

Pink Clouds: Objects, illustrations, sculptures. It’s a series that I used to focus myself and my art. For one year that’s all I did—pink cloud art. Even if I wanted to draw a flower, I didn’t. I just drew, or painted, or sculpted, or applied pink clouds to objects.

Cardiff Giant: A recreation of the greatest hoax in U.S. history. It’s Central New York’s very own monster. When I say that, I’m talking about Syracuse’s own Lock Ness or Roswell. We have a 10-foot tall stone man.


Jan Maloff, owner of Consuela’s West Side Taqueria and BBQ, opened shop in December to give Syracuse’s Westside a community gathering space which serves food germane to the cultures of the area. Consuela’s fuses Mexican, Cuban, and Puerto Rican cuisine to create a menu that will have your mouth watering. Jerk talks to head chef, Jamie Osorio, to get the inside scoop.

What’s something unique about Consuela’s?

Well, you can’t miss this place! It’s so brightly colored.

I know you’re the chef but—how’s the food?

You see people coming back again and again, which is a good thing. It means we’re cooking good.

Do you think that this type of place was a good fit for the West Side?

Around here, there was nothing. Everything used to be bars. Now, it’s great for the neighborhood to have this type of food.


Growing up in Cortland, N.Y., Jerome Mark Antil created memories that would become his daughter's favorite bedtime stories, and eventually, the basis for his recently published novel, The Pompey Hollow Book Club.

What’s your novel about?

My book is about kids who were born in 1941, just as the war started, who became a little bit older and wiser than they should have.

What made you decide to donate a copy of your book to middle and high school libraries?

I want to get kids to write. I think that teachers often do it wrong. They teach reading and writing. They should teach storytelling! Saying "you’ve got to get the right periods and commas in there" is enough to scare anybody away from the whole concept of writing. The book is a whole bunch of stories that I wove together into a novel. I think the kids will like it.


Steve Parks knows the power of the pen, especially when it comes to community activism. Working with the Gifford Street Community Press members Richard Vallejo, Isaac Rothwell, Mother Earth, Susan Hamilton, Gary Bonaparte, and fellow professors in the writing and rhetoric program, Parks empowers Syracuse’s Westside with publications like Home: Journeys to the Westside. Here, Parks shares his motivations for joining up with the community press.

I thought I understood what the Westside was going through because it harkened back to what I experienced growing up. I grew up in Pittsburgh when the steel mills were closing, and I saw communities flat-out struggling. So I had a great affinity for them. And that coupled with the writing program resources, enabled me to become involved in projects that helped the community rearticulate its future. Community publishing is one tactic that members can use to ensure that their voices are heard, and that their rights are realized.


Founder Christiona Hawkins tells Jerk about local literary magazine MESH.

I never thought that MESH (Merging Expression andScholarships through High Schools) would becomewhat it is now. In summer 2009, I had a dream tocreate a magazine at SU that would benefit thecommunity. After three semesters of planning andrearranging, it evolved into a program that connectsSyracuse University students to local high schooland middle school students through a magazineand weekly poetry workshops.

One of the students with us since day one is coeditor Corinne Halpern. I don’t remember how we encountered each other; I just know that the result was greatness! Without the input of Corinne, other graphic designers, public relations gurus, fantastic literature reviewers, and passionate workshoppers, neither our first issue nor the workshop program ever would have happened


Upstate is a TV show that depicts the life of an upstate New Yorker. Jerk discusses Upstate with its writer Tom Seeley.

On writing Upstate: I’ve written a lot of half hour shows. It’s just a matter of sitting down, figuring out the story you want to tell. Sit with the characters long enough, you get to know them. Hopefully, they’ll tell you the story, and you don’t have to.

On the Upstate New Yorker: The Upstate New Yorker is a guy who grew up in Syracuse, in Eastwood. This is his town. He loves it. He’s not about to move to North Carolina or Florida to get a job down there. He’s worked at a factory that all of a sudden announced that the jobs are moving overseas, and he and 1,200 other people are out of work. What do you do? I didn’t have that answer. I thought, "This is an interesting dilemma. How can I make it funny?" Upstate is a comedy for the 99 percent.


Syracuse University’s first-ever philanthropy class donated $5,000 to Vera House thanks to help from Helene Kahn, an SU alumna who established the class to teach students the importance of philanthropy while providing the skills for community development. Jerk spent some time letting Kahn finish our sentences.

Philanthropy means leadership through giving. You give your time, talent, or treasure, and you hope others will follow in your footsteps.

Sometimes it’s almost easier to raise money than it is to give it away. If I had $5,000 to give away to any cause, I’d give it to an educational organization like Say Yes, Room to Read, Literacy Corps, or Teach for America.

The foundation of our world is education. The focus on transforming our world needs to start with the education of our children.

The best thing you can give is your devotion.


Adrian Jones had no idea that grabbing a ride from his friend Landice Reddish in January would bring him city-wide recognition. While Reddish stopped at her house to make a phone call, Jones was waiting in the car with Reddish’s three children when a man in a hooded sweatshirt approached the car. Call it instinct or fat, but Jones immediately crouched down and shielded 3-year-old Adorable Reddish, just as bullets flew through a window. Though he himself took bullets to the chest and neck, Jones survived and lived to say he saved a life.


As co-founder and board president of the Alchemical Nursery, a local non-profit dedicated to environmental sustainability and permaculture, Frank Cetera spearheaded the creation of a community snack garden on the South Side, which the USDA named a "food desert". In this as-told-to, Jerk gets the dirt on Cetera’s from his partner-in-tree-hugging and girlfriend of more than two years, Ursula Rozum.

Frank sees nothing and wants to make it something. He wants to change the planet—as corny as that sounds. He wants to make the city more ecologically-diverse and resilient. That’s why we both hate naked lawns. There are so many different kinds of plants that can grow on a lawn, but people instead want ecological deserts in front of their houses. It’s creepy. So when Magda [Bayoumi] told me about the under-used land next to the Rahma Free Health Clinic, I introduced her to Frank. I totally take creditfor the snack garden.


Ben Sio works tirelessly to revitalize Syracuse and its surrounding communities. As director of Sustainable Infrastructure & Policy Development at Centerstate CEO (Corporation for Economic Opportunity) and manager at the urban development organization 40 Below, this Skaneateles native spends each day making his hometown a better place to live.

The goal of 40 Below is to connect, empower, and engage young professionals and students with the community. Getting young people involved in projects helps make our community a better place, and they’ll hopefully become more interested in the community and want to stay here. It’s about connecting young people's energy to engaging opportunity in the community, and by doing so they can find jobs, a place to live. I even know five or six people who have found their husbands and wives through the program.

I want Syracuse to become the easiest and most recognizable place for young people to move to, and do whatever they want to do.