By Lonnie Barlow, Organizer, PUSH Buffalo
With the right of free speech comes the right of many rights – this includes the right to create art that imitates life, and the right to live a life that inspires artists. Sustainable democracy – which includes the right to sustainable housing for all, the right to living wage work opportunities, and basically the right to green and affordable living, is an art and a life all in itself.
The origin of the interior of “The Center” (Grant St Neighborhood Center, 271 Grant St, Buffalo) as an exhibition space for artists begins this spring. This humble beginning will take the form of one show – Sarah Myers: Righting on Copper.
Visual artist Sarah Myers has created a series of works for display at The Center that are akin to an artist bill of rights. Copper plates of various sizes inscribed with poetic words and sayings created by Myers will grace the walls of this recently-revived inner-city community center.
The plates, which range in size but are mostly rectangular and square in shape, are largely the result of Myers’ tremendous reserves of creative ingenuity. The works come across as in the form of a three-layer cake, compressed but intricate. Each piece begins with a flat copper plate, a copper canvas, and is topped or inscribed with poems and phrases. Observing the etched-in poetry, it’s clear she wants the viewer to take time to study what she has to say, and not just take a cursory glance. She uses a simple form to create her art and get a beautiful message across to the viewer.
Rightfully so, Myers’ art reflects the work that PUSH Buffalo is doing. Copper is one of nature’s most useful material; it is malleable, helpful in many industries, a good conductor of electricity, and can be (and is) recycled. PUSH Buffalo is an emerging leader in sustainable living; Myers is an emerging leader in the arts. PUSH and Myers are both good conductors of healthy, progressive, and community transformative thought.
The story that will be told years from now about the City of Buffalo will include elements of revival. A few years ago, when Erie County officials mothballed a neighborhood library on Buffalo’s West Side, some people jumped in with a vision. PUSH Buffalo, city councilman David Rivera and the Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) came up with a vision for this building’s revival. The vision has now manifested itself as the Grant Street Neighborhood Center aka The Center, now a burgeoning community center which also houses the PUSH and MAP offices.
Righting on Copper is an initiation of sorts. It marks the initiation of the interior of The Center as a space for artists to display their works, and it is an initiation of the beginning of a relationship between PUSH and Myers – PUSH has been involved in dealing with issues in the city, while Myers is an artist who lives and creates art here.
Myers will be a busy bee this summer. Her work will also be on display inside the new Larkin Building space from June 18th thru August 18th. She had a one-day-only show last summer at 79 Perry St (inside the Hi-Temp Fabrics building) that drew upwards of 500 people.
Righting on Copper will open with a reception to the public on Friday May 31st, 2013 from 6-9pm. The reception is free, and all are invited to attend. Instrumental beats will provided by yours truly, Lonnie B. The show runs until August 31st, 2013. Viewing hours for this show for the public are Monday-Friday, 3-6pm, but the times are subject to change. Please check the Grant Street Neighborhood Center Facebook group for daily updates.