By Dana Saylor, Director of Cultural Outreach and Secretary, Emerging Leaders in the Arts Buffalo (ELAB)
Emerging Leaders in the Arts Buffalo really began to flourish when we opened up to collaboration and co-promotion. Group shows, multi-artist pieces, and cross-city event planning have taken off in the past year and a half. Some of our most productive moments have been after meetings or critique sessions, enjoying a pint and profound discussion, then booking all the members in an art installation!
But, we recognize that we are just one segment of the larger arts community in Buffalo, and indeed, the region. This fact was evident last Saturday, when six members of ELAB journeyed across Western New York and Southern Ontario for three incredible shows.
First up was “Rochester LGBTQ Collects” at the venerable Visual Studies Workshop, where ELAB President Marcus L. Wise’s photography was included in one of the featured collections, among vintage daguerrotypes, Toulouse-Lautrec-style paintings, and mixed-media works celebrating gay culture. “Rochester presented so many opportunities that I wished we could have stayed and art-hopped indefinitely,” said ELAB Vice President Tara Sasiadek.
“I look forward to sister-cities type collaborations, and seeing more shows there in the future.”
Next up, we returned home to visit the Buffalo Arts Studio’s “Evolution/Revolution” 20th anniversary event. Our friend and colleague, Cori Wolff, curated the show, and has been promoted to Artistic Director. Aside from showing our support, we were there to take in an impressive collection of paintings, sculpture, photography, and video. The BAS show exemplified the depth and range of the region, and incorporated local art society members, UB MFA candidates, and visiting and resident artists. “I thought that I was familiar with what Buffalo has to offer art-wise,” admitted Sasiadek, “but I was pleasantly surprised by things I had never seen before; the depth and breadth of the work represented at the Buffalo Arts Studio 20th anniversary show. I told other people that they simply must see it before it closes in December.”
Finally, we drove to Toronto, arriving mid-Nuit Blanche, the overnight celebration of contemporary art. The incredible talent of Canadian and international artists was evident in outdoor sculptures, video installations, performance art, dance, visual art galleries, and unique one-night-only events. ELAB was genuinely impressed and astonished by what we found, in the Distillery District, on Queen West, and in between.
I’d made a connection the week before with Stephanie Avery, founder of Les Rues Des Refuses (LRDR), a collection of off-program Nuit Blanche happenings. With a simple email introducing our group, she immediately offered us a show in Toronto, and also expressed her interest in visiting Buffalo to photograph the architecture. The friendly way in which she reached out reminded me of the warm and caring atmosphere we’ve worked to build here in Buffalo for the arts and culture. We are excited to collaborate with LRDR in the near future, and are grateful that such opportunities exist in a great place, just over the border.
Learning from the successes of other cities, and gaining knowledge through collaborative experiences, ELAB seeks to celebrate this weekend with our Creative Conversation. The theme of the event is “Urban Alchemy: Public Art and the Revitalization of Buffalo,” and will serve as a jumping-off point for pooling and sharing resources, discussing future public art shows, the impact of Fluid Culture installations at the waterfront, and ways in which we can work together with local agencies and organizations to make Buffalo even better. We encourage the community to attend, share their ideas, and learn about what’s already happening. With a wide range of speakers, panel members and workshops, we’re rolling up our sleeves, ready to take action – we invite anyone who’d like to join in!
Emerging Leaders in the Arts
Urban Alchemy: Public Art and the Revitalization of Buffalo
Saturday, October 8th
Keynote address, panel discussion, workshops, collaborative art projects, dance party with av/dj PROJEX
$15, includes light dinner, program notebook memento, workshop attendance, art supplies
Free parking across the street
Food trucks outside, including The Place to Go!