mini print exhibit brings international artists to ithaca

Walking into the Ink Shop Printmaking Center, the first thing you see is a faded blue wall lined with four columns of symmetrical square prints, each in the same black wooden frame. Continue further and you’ll notice that the entire room is lined with these prints. They extend into the adjacent room, which doubles as a gallery space and studio. Visitors walk past the printmaking equipment in the center of the room and then circle around the perimeter where they can take a closer look at the details in each frame.

The prints, each no more than 4-by-4 inches, are part of the 20th Mini Print International Exhibit, hosted by the Ink Shop in downtown Ithaca. The exhibit was originally founded in 1985 by Beverly McLean, a long-time supporter of the arts, who ran the show bi-annually in Binghamton until 2010. The exhibit was then moved to Ithaca.

 Craig Mains, director and curator of the 20th Mini Print International Exhibit, placed more “intimate” or detailed images towards the front of the gallery.

Craig Mains, director and curator of the 20th Mini Print International Exhibit, placed more “intimate” or detailed images towards the front of the gallery.

Craig Mains, the director and curator of the exhibit, says the artists in the exhibit represent over 13 countries, with roughly a third of the prints coming from abroad.

With the prints lined in such a way, viewers can focus on one frame at the time. “The idea of the many prints allows for people to have constraint...if you narrow down your choice of what you can look at, then you can really look at the show,” Mains says.

Mains says this also prevents visitors from becoming overwhelmed and because the prints are for sale, encourages them to hone in on each image by itself rather than view them as a collection.

Because of their small size, artists can afford to sell prints at a lower price. “This means the public can afford to own some highly technical but very fine art, that’s really the purpose behind it,” Mains noted.

Mains says this benefits both the artist, whose work is presented and sold, as well as the buyer, “allowing them the chance to have something beautiful in their house.”

Several different forms of printmaking are represented in the exhibit. Printmaking usually involves the transfer of a medium, such as ink, from one surface onto another surface, such as paper. Some artists in the exhibit utilized a common form of printmaking called etching, which involves making carvings into a plate, brushing ink onto that plate and then pressing the plate onto a surface.

 Artists from over 13 different countries are represented in the 20th Mini Print International exhibit. Several different forms of printmaking are on display, including etching and lithography, was well as other alternative/modern forms of printmaking.

Artists from over 13 different countries are represented in the 20th Mini Print International exhibit. Several different forms of printmaking are on display, including etching and lithography, was well as other alternative/modern forms of printmaking.

Mains says other artists used alternative methods of printmaking, including a Japanese artist who cuts branches in half and engraves a design on the end of them. The result is a print with an image outlined by the cross sections of a branch.

The process of planning the exhibit takes about a year and a half, with a significant portion of time dedicated to how the prints will be hung. Mains arranges the prints on the walls, and then rearranges them. He sets specific images, that can “carry from a distance” on the furthest wall, and more “intimate images” on the wall that requires viewers to come close to look at them.

Prints that carry common themes or subject matter also have to be spaced apart so that they don't appear to be playing off of one another.

Delia Eng, the Ink Shop office assistant, says each viewer draws a different experience from the exhibit. “They get a sense of a little story in each frame,” she says. “Everyone has their own little box and everyone has something different to say...and putting everything up on the walls gives each artist their own story.”

 

Local sexual assault crisis hotline staff see rise in reports  

Every call Kristi Taylor receives on the Advocacy Center’s crisis hotline is different. Some call frequently, looking for support and guidance on how to live with past trauma. Others, who may be in immediate danger at the hands of an abuser, are seeking shelter for the night.

“It's always such an honor for people to trust that I might be able to help them and that they’ll trust me with their stories that are probably some of the most private and intimate,” Taylor says.

Taylor is the educational director at the Advocacy Center, the only shelter and resource center for victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Tompkins County.

 The Advocacy Center provides a variety of resources including personal advocates who can provide support to victims of sexual violence though medical and judicial processes.

The Advocacy Center provides a variety of resources including personal advocates who can provide support to victims of sexual violence though medical and judicial processes.

Taylor says the Center has seen a marked increase in calls to its crisis hotline since October of 2017, which she add “is exactly when #MeToo started.” This mirrors a national trend of increasing reports of sexual assault and harassment in light of the #MeToo movement.

The Center’s 24-hour hotline is a place where people can talk anonymously. Trained volunteers and staff who work on the hotline can help callers through a variety of processes, ranging from talking to law enforcement to addressing medical needs.

Taylor says she thinks the hotline is one of the most important resources for victims of sexual violence because of its “constant connection.”

“When you're meeting with a counselor or therapist, that role is huge in helping people build tools and skills, but they're not always necessarily available at 2 a.m,” Kristi says.

When a call comes in, Taylor says “the first thing we do is ask the person if they’re in a safe place to talk.”

After assessing their physical safety, Taylor says she tries to create a space where the caller is comfortable to talk. She asks about the situation and what prompted the caller to pick up the phone that night.

 The Center’s crisis hotline phones are scattered throughout the office so that trained volunteers can answer at anytime of day

The Center’s crisis hotline phones are scattered throughout the office so that trained volunteers can answer at anytime of day

Taylor first began working on a domestic violence hotline in 2008. “I always knew that this work was important...I know a lot of people in my life who have experienced these forms of violence and the idea of being able to hopefully provide a space for people to talk was really powerful for me,” Taylor says.

Hearing stories that people often feel shame around can be be emotionally tasking. “Of course, we’re hearing really difficult stories and there’s an element of sadness and frustration that can also come in that people are experiencing such hurt in the world,” Taylor says.

In times when specific instances of sexual assault or harassment receive increased attention from the media, calls to the Center’s crisis hotline often go up. Most recently, during the hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault by former high school classmate, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, calls to the hotline increased. This mirrored a trend across the country, where calls to the National Sexual Assault hotline increased by over 200 percent on the day of the hearing.

Taylor says the Center saw an increase in calls from people of Dr. Ford's generation. “I think largely because people could really connect with what the culture was that they grew up in, and then kind of seeing it reply back out was really difficult.”

Taylor sees a shift in the way people approach sexual violence in younger generations. “College students may not even have a full grasp of the fact that even 10 years ago, this was the norm,” she says.

“You have this kind of wave that brings up this conversation...of having an expectation of being heard and having some type of accountability for the people engaging in this behavior.”

 

Ithaca College introduces Opioid Overdose Training for Students and Staff

The Southern Tier AIDS program hosted an Opioid Overdose Workshop on October 4 at Ithaca College. Kim Conrad, a Harm Reduction Specialist, and Emily England, Director of Programs - Harm Reduction, at the Southern Tier Aids program, conducted the workshop.

Students and staff were taught how to administer Narcan which contains Naloxone, an antidote which can be used to reverse an opioid overdose, as well as recognize signs and symptoms of a possible overdose. Conrad, who has hosted four other workshops at Ithaca College in the past two years, walked through the procedure step by step.

The opioid overdose kit comes in a small blue pouch that includes syringes and Naloxone. The drug can be administered through a needle or in the form of a nasal spray. The medication binds itself to receptors to reverse the depression of the respiratory and nervous system, letting the user to breathe.

In a 2015 a student survey from the Center for Health Promotion found that 0.2 percent of students at Ithaca College had used opioids that were not prescribed to them in the past month. This is lower than the national average of 0.5 percent.

The college decided to begin training all students, including resident assistants, interested in using Naloxone to prevent overdoses after illegal opioid use rose from 2.8 percent to 3 percent from 2015 to 2017 among college students, according to the National College Health Assessment.

 Kim Conrad, Harm Reduction Specialist at the Southern Tier AIDS program, demonstrates on to administer Naloxone at the Opioid Overdose Workshop

Kim Conrad, Harm Reduction Specialist at the Southern Tier AIDS program, demonstrates on to administer Naloxone at the Opioid Overdose Workshop

Nancy Reynolds, the Program Director at the college’s Center for Health Promotion said Ithaca College has trained 87 people since the initiative began last April.

“This includes a mix of IC students, faculty and staff.” According to Reynolds, there have not been any student, staff or faculty opioid overdoses in the college’s history.

However, opioid abuse is prevalent in New York.  According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 10 percent to 25 percent of people who use heroin overdose annually in the state. Drug overdoses are also climbing faster than any other cause of death in New York. Because of these reasons, the Center for Health Promotion decided to set forth with a plan to make overdose training available on campus.  

Conrad and England said that college students make up one of the largest groups of drug abusers nationwide. Those ages 18 to 24 are at heightened risk of addiction and those enrolled in college are twice as likely to abuse drugs than those who are not enrolled in college.

 Narcan nasal spray, which contains opioid antidote Naloxone, from an opioid overdose prevention kit

Narcan nasal spray, which contains opioid antidote Naloxone, from an opioid overdose prevention kit

“Because there’s a lot of stigma around drug use, I think that folks are often apprehensive to try and figure out one way to respond to that,” Conrad said, referring to why students may be reluctant to be trained in opioid overdose prevention. “Fatal overdoses can be avoided, it’s just a matter of getting trained.”

“I think it’s important to remember that opioids don’t discriminate,” England said. “They happen in many different communities and to multiple types of people....no matter who's overdosing, everyone’s a person.”

Felicity Holmes, a student who took part in the workshop said, “You never know who's doing it on our campus... and being that one person who might be able to save someone’s life would be good.”