Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cultural Reaction

The last week (or last few years, if you're really keeping track), there has been a big push for awareness of the county funding for the cultural organizations in Erie County. The budget needs to be approved by the legislature by next Tuesday; on Monday, there was a budget public hearing where representatives of the culturals were able to speak on their behalf. On Monday, Buffalo Rising had an article to make the community aware of the issues at hand. Lawrence Brose, Executive Director of CEPA Gallery, wrote a piece in the article to explain different ways to make a difference during the budget process. All good contributions, I think, to an effort to get people behind getting our culturals healthy.
The whole purpose of this blog was to get people talking about the City of Buffalo and the strength of our art community - the future Creative Class and cultural tourism. So some of the comments on the above mentioned article, were, well, sickening.
The comments centered on themes like "welfare" and the need to rely primarily on private money instead of the government, and there seemed to be the insinuation of culturals being linked to the "elitists."

I left a comment with the BR story, but it was the middle of the night when I read it on my break (an overnight shift - last I checked, elitist jobs don't have those shifts), so I thought I would elaborate.

Many of the culturals in question have educational programs as well as shows open to the general community. I myself have taught photography at Buffalo Arts Studios to adult students, young and older teens, and scholarship students who have demonstrated financial need. CEPA, Squeaky Wheel and Locust Street Neighborhood Art Classes also offer classes to children of all income levels. With the hits that the arts have taken in funding in the public school system (arts programs are usually targeted first for cuts in educational budgets), the independent art organizations are sometimes the only real exposure kids get to a vigorous art class.
College students also rely on these institutions for internship experience for credit - hanging shows, curating, etc. A lively art community goes hand in hand with higher education, and Buffalo's economy does rely on the many colleges that grace our city.

I do think that it's really important to take a look at Buffalo's future. We need to have the quality of life component that will attract and keep great minds in our town. The Center for Excellence in Bioinformatics is going to rely heavily on this to get the researchers that will put the Center on the map. Richard Florida ("The Rise of the Creative Class") has written tirelessly about the need for creative thinkers to propel the economy in the 21st century.
Bashar Issa needs to get a certain percentage of occupancy (business and otherwise) before he can begin the high-rise at Elmwood and Mohawk. There needs to be more than a casino to make entire businesses move to Buffalo.

We have this all here. Buffalo has appeared as an Arts destination in Style Magazine for the last five years, and that's with city and county funding being cut over the same amount of time. The inner city is crawling with private investment, and cultural entertainment is what many new city dwellers will be looking for. Now is the time to invest in the culturals. I believe the way Buffalo is growing, they will be able to take care of themselves soon.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Christmas Shopping

Well, Kevin and I decided that again this year we'll be doing all of our Christmas shopping on Elmwood, or online . Shopping online is even more fun this year- The WNY Homeless Alliance is getting a 5- 10% donation from several online shopping sites. Just go to the above link, the pick between Petsmart, itunes, Linnens n' Things,, Amazon, Macy's, Toys r' us, Shop PBS, The Disney Store, Drs Foster and Smith, and Cookin' Light. I have to say, those are sites I do use- I don't have to mess with my list to get this donation in line. Cool. Check it out!


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Let's get on board, Buffalo

Today I read an interesting article in The New York Times Style section under Travel. Titled "Liberal Arts in Philadelphia" , it examines the art scene in that city, and stresses it's pluses in comparison to NYC., specifically it's "community of generosity". The simalarities to the Buffalo art scene are striking. The availability and affordability of space to work; the low profile of the artists themselves (while not a big plus on the surface, less pressure is a better atmosphere to create), and the lack of the intense competition, which promotes cooperation in the art community. I must say, the fact that the New York Times gave such a high profile to Philly is a sign that NYC may be seeing the good sides of art scenes that differ from their own.

Note: I found this article link on the "Creativity Exchange" blog.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Member's Show

OK, gang, I'm going to remind you one more time. This Saturday , November 18, between 7-10, there is the Annual Member's Show at Buffalo Arts Studio. That's on the 5th Floor of the Tri Mail building, 2595 Main Street in Buffalo. I was there tonight, as the show was being hung, and it looks like it's going to be a pretty nice show. Go. If you're really nice, I'll invite you to the darkroom to listen in on the Sabres game (yeah, I can't help it)


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Jumping The Gun

OK, I know we live in America, the most capitalist place on earth. But c'mon- it's still more than a week until Thanksgiving, and we're already seeing TOO MANY Christmas ads on TV. Go to the store, I've seen X-mas trees since before Halloween. This is just sad. Please, is anyone else tired of this? If I had any christmas spirit, I think that this is snuffing out any that's left...

Monday, November 13, 2006

In town....

I am a photographer. I went to Buffalo State College. My Photo Teacher, Leslie Krims, was named one of the Top Underrated Photographers in the last 30 years in American Photo magazine. Now, Les is not the type of guy who makes a big deal of being heralded in an american magazine, so I'll make a big deal here. There is a huge rivalry between UB and Buff State photo students. Well, here's out na-na nah na-na. I got an A from this guy...

Buffalo Arts Studio Residents Show

It's that time again. Time for you all to come down to the Buffalo Arts Studio and see what we've been up to. And it's not a bad party, either. It's this Saturday, November 18, 7-10. Hope to see you there.