Sydney Waller, December 6, 2023


Sydney Waller, December 6, 2023
Sydney Waller
Abby Bishop
Artist Residency
Community Relationships
Griffis Sculpture Park
International Advisory Board
Sculpture Space
Utica, New York
Sydney Waller was the director of Sculpture Space from 2003-2012. Among many of her accomplishments were nearly doubling artist applications, implementing the International Advisory Board, helping to create the Griffis International Sculpture Garden, and honoring Sculpture Space’s 30th anniversary.

Sculpture Space is an artist residency in Utica, New York, less than an hour from Waller’s residence in Cooperstown (where the interview takes place). The residency primarily focuses on sculpture as a medium, which can be interpreted in various ways, utilizing a wide range of materials. Sculpture Space relies on its local and regional community for materials, venues, funding, and other types of support. This interview largely recounts the work Waller accomplished and the special position Sculpture Space has in Utica.

Waller describes in depth the symbiotic relationship between Sculpture Space and the larger community. She reminisced on the many artists she worked with and their captivating work. Artists that created interventions around the city, sculptures for the Griffiss International Sculpture Garden, or artwork for special exhibitions. Sydney also recalls the many board members and community partners who provided invaluable support to the organization broadly and to artists specifically. Board members who housed artists or performed manual labor, community members who donated property or materials, and even government officials who visited Sculpture Space or wrote congratulatory letters. Although the location came with its challenges, Sculpture Space is unique because not every city has a community network like Utica.

There is an interruption in conversation between tracks 2 and 3 for a phone call. Some paper rustling and repositioning noises can be heard in the background. There are quiet moments where Sydney reflects on a response or clarifies a question. For conciseness and clarity, repetitions or false starts have been excluded and I have broken up some long sentences into shorter ones. Sydney emphasizes certain words; therefore, it is recommended that researchers consult the audio recordings to capture her connotation.
Time Summary
TRACK 1, 4:40 - Responsibilities
TRACK 1, 6:19 - Community Partnerships
TRACK 1, 14:50 - Utica Community
TRACK 1, 17:38 - Community Impact
TRACK 1, 23:23 - Residency
TRACK 2, 2:49 - 30th Anniversary
TRACK 2, 6:58 - International Relationships
TRACK 3, 7:37 - Community Relationships
TRACK 3, 13:20 - Sculpture Space Evolution
Abby Bishop
Cooperstown Graduate Program, State University of
New York at Oneonta
Cooperstown Graduate Association, Cooperstown, NY
Sculpture Space, Utica, NY