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ITHACA, NY — Cornell student Cole Stefan ’18 set out to represent Ithaca in 26 iconic images from A to Z in a single art piece with a goal of selling and then donating some of the proceeds to local non-profits.

The “Ithaca Alphabet” art features cultural, social, geographic, and historic references unique to Ithaca. Three local businesses are selling the prints and cards. A portion of the profits are to benefit Hospicare and Palliative Care Services and Cornell clubs.

Cole Stefan ’18 is just one of two student vendors to The Cornell Store, which is one of the three businesses carrying the “Ithaca Alphabet” art merchandise. In 2015, Mr. Stefan combined his entrepreneurial skill with his charitable desire and hired artist Melinda

Curtin to paint the Ithaca Alphabet after choosing the A to Z representatives of Ithaca. The artist, Ms. Curtin, has been commissioned by several non-profits to create several other city alphabet paintings- including Seattle, Los Angeles, Tacoma, and Portland.

Nancy Lazarus, of the iconic Moosewood Restaurant, was asked early in the process to represent the “M” in the alphabet. Another gastro-icon, Collegetown Bagels, also signed onto the project in the beginning stages as the “B” for bagels. Several Cornell

University landmarks and an Ithaca College icon are represented in the art.

The original reverse glass painting in a reclaimed, vintage window can be viewed at Sunny Days of Ithaca at 123 S. Cayuga St., on the corner of the Ithaca Commons. Raffle tickets for the original painting will be sold leading up to May 2018 as Mr. Stefan

graduates. The sale of the painting as well as a percentage of the merchandise sales go to the non-profit organizations.

Deirdre Kurzweil, co-owner of Sunny Days of Ithaca, said of the alphabet, “This project is perfect because our store’s mission is to connect visitors to the wonderful places and things Ithaca has to offer.”

Mayor Svante Myrick received a framed “Ithaca Alphabet” print from the artist to display.

Prints and merchandise available at: The Cornell Store- The Commons and Ho Plaza, Sunny Days of Ithaca- 123 S. Cayuga St., and Moosewood Restaurant 215 N. Cayuga St. .View the original painting at Sunny Days of Ithaca.

Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.