Artist Suzanne Masters completes public art installation

by Michael Perkins, Contributing writer, The Post-Standard
December 13, 2012
Artist Suzanne Masters completes public art installation

SUZANNE MASTERS displays three large paintings on side of building where her gallery and business used to be in Liverpool.
SUZANNE MASTERS displays three large paintings on side of building
where her gallery and business used to be in Liverpool.
Ellen M. Blalock, The Post-Standard


The village of Liverpool got a little more colorful recently thanks to local artist Suzanne Masters.

Masters recently completed the public art installation on the side of the building at 137 First St. in the village.

The piece features three painted wooden panels, each 3-by-5 feet, with abstract designs on them.

“It’s a triptych, or three paneled piece,” Masters said. “It’s bold, abstract and fun that’s why I chose it for the public art.”

The location formerly served as home for Masters. She had an art gallery and healing center for several years where she practiced Reiki, a Japanese healing art, and often administered henna designs on customers.

“Because I am in the healing aspect of arts, I would do henna designs on the heads of female cancer patients who were going through chemo,” Masters said. “Some people can embrace their feelings, to use art for healing.”

Masters also held many art shows and featured local artists in her gallery.

After her shop closed, she wanted to provide the village with some art. She contacted Christine Stevens, of JGB Properties LLC, owners of the building, for permission to use the space.

“I’d known (Masters) for a few years from managing the property,” Stevens said. “After she left, she got the idea to do a mural on the side of the building.”

Stevens said she pitched the idea to Jay Bernhardt, CEO of JGB and a supporter of the arts.

“JGB owns a commercial property in Florida, and they donate space (there) to a local artist collective,” Stevens said.

Initially, the piece was slated to be a mural on the side of the building, but JGB had the property slated for demolition and redevelopment in the future.

“This way we can save the art,” Stevens said.

With permission from the owners, Masters took her cause to the Cultural Resources Council in Syracuse, to obtain a grant.

The council is a nonprofit in the John H. Mulroy Civic Center that provides funding for local artists and art groups in Onondaga, Oswego, Cortland, Madison, Oneida and Herkimer counties.

“Artists like Suzanne are the bedrock of the local artistic scene,” said Steven Butler, executive director of the council. “They’re part of the fabric of artists, but they’re also citizens and part of our community.”

The council provided nearly $1 million in grants last year. Masters received $1,000 for her project.

Stevens saw the finished product recently and was excited by the prospect of the public art.

“I think this piece looks great and I hope, like any public art work, people will enjoy it and be inspired by it,” Stevens said. “It certainly brings some color to the village.”

Even though this project is completed, Masters isn’t taking much time off.

In addition to running her own contract painting company, Masters teaches private art classes and has a show of her own work, entitled “Tribal Ritual Fetish Pieces,” running through the end of the month at Salina Free Library in Mattydale. She is looking for a new location for her gallery and healing center, as well.

As far as another project like this, Masters said she is open to the idea.

“I’d love to do another piece like this,” Masters said. “It was a great experience and I’d like to do some more.”