CAPITAL REGION -- What’s so great about the 518? Michael Janairo is hoping to show people through #518Day.
Janeiro is a writer, educator and assistant director for Engagement at the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College.
Last year, Janairo began the #518Day social media extravaganza as a way to promote local arts and culture. Using the hashtag #518Day, hundreds of people took to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram on May 18 to talk about some of their favorite art scenes in the 518.
Some encouraged others to visit local galleries (“@CollarWorks art gallery in Troy runs monthly art exhibits that are truly fascinating! Be sure to check them out! #518Day”), others praised local talent (“It's #518day. Go hug an artist and tell him/her you'll pay them at full worth”).
“#518Day is a way for people throughout the greater Capital Region to see all the amazing things going on in the arts. So much of it goes unrecognized for a lot of reasons: the media landscape has become so fractured there's no one source for news about the arts; a lot of the conversation about the arts are dominated by national media coverage of big-name music acts or Hollywood movies; people are busy, so it's hard to pay attention; even people involved in the arts are too busy — often, they have full-time jobs and making art is in their free time — and they don't have much time to promote their own work,” Janairo said.
On May 18, he’s asking anyone and everyone in the greater Capital Region to take to social media to support local arts programs. Janairo is hoping for a higher level of involvement and to learn something new this time around.
“I hope to learn something new. There is always something new happening. . . .I hope visual artists will post images of their latest work; musicians, performers, and writers post links to sound files or videos of new tunes. Even better, fans of artists posting their appreciation for local musicians, performers, writers, and visual artists. Wouldn't that be great? . . . I think of "#518Day" as an anchor or centralizing symbol. What people will attach to that with words, images or videos is all up to them,” Janairo said.
With the upcoming addition of area code 838 in what is now a 518 area code, Janairo said he’s not sure what will happen with #518Day next year.
“I wouldn't want 838-ers to feel excluded, and I wouldn't want #518Day to feel old fashioned. Then again, "838" seems to be referring to something that doesn't exist. There is no August 38, so maybe it will continue to be 5/18,” Janairo said.
No matter what the change is (and whether there is one at all), Janairo encouraged everyone to take to social media on Thursday, May 18 to share what makes the Capital Region as artistically rich.
"I believe the arts are vital — no matter your age — for gaining a greater understanding of what it means to be human," Janairo said.