The Creative Archive: Buffalo Edition – An Art-chitecture City
Some may call it a comeback, but Buffalo has been here for years. Like many “great” American cities, Buffalo has seen its share of boom and bust, paving way for seemingly certain cycles of artistic expression – be it architecture, or visual art or art of the culinary nature.
While some may not regard the buffalo wing as high dining, I would highly recommend a taste test of this in its hometown. Paired with a trip to Paradise Wine and you have yourselves the beginnings of a foodie tour.
I am a longtime fan of architecture and have been known to travel to a city for the sole purpose of ogling its buildings. Buffalo is no slouch, with an awesome variety of Victorian and Art Deco era buildings and a strong source of inspiration for those willing to look up and out beyond the city decline. From grand marquees to faded markings of hand-painted signs, Buffalo’s past and present shine through.
A must-stop on the itinerary is a gallery set in a beautiful arcade-style building, where all units face a light-soaked atrium running all three storeys. The building itself is a work of art-chitecture. Situated in the Allentown area of Buffalo, the CEPA Gallery – (Center for Exploratory and Perpetual Arts) is a contemporary photography and visual arts center with three galleries of changing exhibits and events, multimedia public art installations, arts education programs, and an open-access darkroom and digital photo lab.
Overall the curation at CEPA is a cornucopia of emerging and established artists and presents a wide artistic view. There is always something to discover. Recent shows include:
A Cindy Sherman Retrospective: Works from the Gerald Mead Collection – “Mythologies of Identity”.
The show was accompanied by works from Dane-Adrian Smith and Jean-René Leblanc, centred on themes of a post-gender world and contemporary cowboy culture in the Canadian Midwest.
The First Show University at Buffalo First Year Masters of Fine Arts show
Featuring the work of eight Buffalo-based artists in UB’s 2024 MFA cohort, this show included varying mediums and techniques and provided an opportunity to discover artists to begin following as they evolve their art practice.
Anja Honisett: Between Days.
Anja’s work, an exploration of the “notion of women as vessels, carriers of life conduits of the past, and as scions of the primordial.” Honisett states “this is a series of experimental, self-portrait paintings, referencing interior and exterior landscapes, the unconscious and memory.”
Tucked into a former industrial building in the Grant Ferry area of Buffalo is the Buffalo Institute for Contemporary Art. Founded in June 2018, by Curator Emily Ebba Reynolds and Artist Nando Alvarez-Perez, BICA’s mission is to “to break down the barriers between the art world and the rest of the world and to make lives better through practical engagements with contemporary art,” (BICA Website, 2023). On my first visit, a friend and I were welcomed in by Alvarez-Perez and given a little sneak peek of the wealth of space BICA occupies. This space goes beyond just the gallery, a foreshadowing for future expansion of ways to support artists and their creations. As a fan of print based works and layered graphic design, I fell deeply for the risograph show on display at the time.
Hot Tip: BICA would be a perfect place to stage your next cultural happening, show your artwork or direct your philanthropic efforts.
Being based in Hamilton, Buffalo is accessible to me as a day trip. I would argue the same is possible for folks living in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) as well. There is even an Amtrak route called the Maple Leaf that picks up at Union, Oakville and Aldershot GO Stations, running you across the border into Buffalo.
How quaint, right? All of this to say, do not let perceived distance deter you from discovering this city. I am still working on sussing out the best places to do remote work from and have not yet dabbled in a sleepover, but will be back in the city before the year’s end to visit the newly renovated Buffalo AKG Art Museum (formerly the Albright Knox Gallery). News on that in a future Buffalo Edition.
Amy Peebles is a curator & producer residing in Hamilton, ON.
Urban planner by education, treasure hunter by choice, and always energized by the act of discovery. Amy is the founder of creative studio Regional Archive and considers herself a child of the world.