By all accounts, the 2015 New York Statewide Preservation Conference was a roaring success! For the first time ever we had a sellout crowd, with over 300 preservationists from across the state. Our host city of Geneva did not disappoint; there was amazing architecture, tasty local restaurants and bars, and friendly faces everywhere we turned. Our host sites–the Smith Opera House and the First United Methodist Church–were particularly welcoming and accommodating.
Below are just a few of the highlights:
We started things off right with some good food and good beer on our Geneva Pub Crawl Thursday night after the film. Here are a few of us enjoying our pub crawl tshirts at Red Dove Tavern. (You didn’t think you could escape this post without at least one selfie, did you?)
We also had an amazing lineup of speakers with sessions including topics such as community-based art initiatives like Wall\Therapy in Rochester and the SALT District in Syracuse; historic home repair, religious building repair, fundraising for historic sites; the Power of Preserved Public Spaces (presented by Slow Road and two local Rochester-based businesses, Staach and Joe Bean Coffee); and addressing vacant buildings from our friends at PlaceEconomics and Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson.
Performances from One Dance Co. and PUSH Physical Theatre punctuated the educational sessions on Thursday and Friday and provided a much-needed opportunity for our brains to recharge after absorbing so much information!
The weather even cooperated (for the most part). The sun came out on Friday evening just as attendees headed to the Smith to hear from Keynote Speaker, Cynthia Nikitin of the Project for Public Spaces. And–perhaps the highlight of the week–attendees enjoyed a warm and magnificent evening at Sophie Paillard Elkin’s historic barn complex just a few miles outside of downtown Geneva. The space, food, music, local wine and juice (generously donated by Fox Run Vineyards, Anthony Road Wine Company, Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard, Villa Bellangelo, Zugibe Vineyards, Billsboro Winery, and Red Jacket Orchards) and the company all made it a wondrous evening.
Finally, we closed the Conference on Saturday with a Social Media Power Session and one-on-one consultations from social media and digital marketing expert, Danielle Hueston of Deelightful Studios; a panel-led problem-solving session that provided a lot of great ideas for challenges that preservationists and communities across the region are facing; and field sessions throughout Geneva that showcased amazing examples of adaptive reuse and the impressive strides made in community and neighborhood revitalization (we encourage you to check out the work of the Geneva Neighborhood Resource Center for inspiration).
On behalf of our Conference partners (the Preservation League of New York State, Preservation Buffalo Niagara, AIA Rochester, and the NY State Historic Preservation Office), we want to extend a sincere thank you to all of our Conference attendees, speakers, sponsors, host sites, and the city of Geneva. It was truly a group effort and could not have been done without every single one of you.
Now–put all that inspiration and information to work in your community and mark your calendars for the 2016 New York Statewide Preservation Conference, May 5-7th in Albany and Troy.