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Kick Off for Buffalo's "One Summerlong Sensation"

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – Area cultural and government leaders met Monday at the Historical Society for the official kick-off of Buffalo's "One Summerlong Sensation." The "I Love New York" campaign event will celebrate the Guitar Festival, Juneteenth, the Taste of Buffalo and more along with one time events such as the Masterworks Exhibition at the Albright Knox and the Art on Wheels public art extravaganza.

The invitations have been sent. The banners are hung. The music is playing and the welcome mat has been officially rolled out. Now, area leaders are hoping that since they've built it, that they -- the tourists -- will come. It's hoped that the "guest list" will top 350,000 before the summer ends. Virtually every cultural organization in the region is playing some part in the major tourism initiative.

Erie County Executive Joel Giambra says the county's investment in the culturals is paying dividends. He cited the city's new ranking as the number eight arts destination in the United States. But area cultural leaders point to an overall decrease in support for the arts. Buffalo last year eliminated all arts funding. And Giambra says the county's ability to help could be in question if it's forced to share the more of its sales tax with the city.

That's probably no surprise to cultural leaders. They are already readjusting to a funding picture that looks darker each year. Organizations are sharing resources, collaborating and cross promoting each other on a grand scale lately. The Summerlong Sensation is the most visible product of their intense efforts.

A new Visitors' Center at the History museum will provide one stop information for the summer's multitude of activities at locations throughout the region.