SUNY Buffalo State and Young Audiences of Western New York are jointly celebrating the completion of a community mural that reflects the lives of West Side residents, Thursday, October 10, at 2:30 p.m. at Lorigo’s Meating Place, 185 Grant Street at Auburn Avenue. The event is open to the public.
Following the ceremony, there will be a reception at West Side Bazaar, 25 Grant Street.
A $75,000 National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) “Our Town” grant was awarded to Young Audiences earlier this year to fund the Grant Street Global Voices initiative, culminating in a 32-by-80 foot mural painted by Augustina Droze. Buffalo State was named a partner in the project along with the City of Buffalo and Buffalo Public Schools.
Young Audiences of Western New York teaching artists and Buffalo State art education students worked with the city’s schoolchildren at Lafayette High School, the International School 45, the Buffalo State Community Academic Center, the WASH Project, and the Niagara Branch Library to create designs that Droze incorporated into the mural. The final result is a collection of historical images of the West Side juxtaposed with portraits of current residents.
“I think the new energy, the huge range of life experiences that come in are really the wealth of Buffalo’s future,” said Cynnie Gaasch, executive director of Young Audiences. “That’s really where all our opportunity is—the different kinds of people who are deciding to make their homes here.”
And future West Side projects may emanate from this one.
“We see this grant as a catalyst for other arts projects celebrating and promoting the vitality of the Grant Street community, its economic growth, and its quality of life,” said John Siskar, senior adviser for Buffalo State’s Educational Pipeline Initiatives. “What a beautiful tribute this is to a truly global community where you have descendants of past immigrants and recent immigrants from all over the world working together to better their neighborhood.”
Additional community sponsors of Global Voices include the Baird Foundation, the Buffalo History Museum, the Cameron and Jane Baird Foundation, Lorigo’s Meating Place, the New York State Council on the Arts, Niagara District Councilman David Rivera’s Office, and the West Side Business and Taxpayers Association.