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30 local artists to showcase original creations

Greenish-brown ceramic works on a white pedestal, with people in the background
Buffalo Arts Studio
More than 100 pieces of original artwork will be available beginning Nov. 20-Dec. 22.

COVID-19 has changed the way we shop for the holidays, but there's still a push to buy local every season. And starting Saturday evening, there's a unique opportunity to do that.

Buffalo Arts Studio's Annual Artist Exhibition and Sale begins with a reception Nov. 20 from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. at the Tri-Main Center in Buffalo, then continues through Dec. 22.

The event features over 100 pieces of original artwork — including paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, ceramics, jewelry and more — from the 30 artists who have studios and exhibit at BAS. All works will be available for immediate purchase.

Buffalo Arts Studio Curator Shirley Verrico talks to WBFO from her home via Zoom.
Marian Hetherly
Buffalo Arts Studio Curator Shirley Verrico talks to WBFO from her home via Zoom.
WBFO's Marian Hetherly talks with BAS Curator Shirley Verrico about the Annual Artist Exhibition and Sale

Marian Hetherly: Before we get into tomorrow evening's event, remind people about Buffalo Arts Studio.

Shirley Verrico: The Buffalo Art Studios is 20,000 square feet on the 5th floor inside the Tri-Main Center, which is 600,000 square feet. So then you just get a sense of the scope of both of these organizations. We are a not for profit Arts Center. And we have a mission that has really three aspects. One is to provide safe and affordable studio space for working artists. So we have 30 studios. We also support support emerging artists. So we have a whole education program. We have adult classes that run and then we also have youth classes. And those are really exciting. We serve young people who are seriously considering a career in the arts. And we do this regardless of their ability to pay. So that's what's really special. That's called our Jump Start program.

And then our third aspect brings all of this together. And that is our exhibition space. We have three galleries and we feature about 12 exhibitions each year. We are free and open to the public. Our gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., with the exception of this upcoming Saturday, which is Nov. 20, when our galleries will be filled with over 100 artworks by our studio artists.

MH: And the reason is an opening reception for Buffalo Arts Studio's Annual Artists Exhibition and Sale.

SV: Yeah. So 30 artists that make their work there will be exhibiting in the galleries and in small groups of works, maybe three, four or five smaller works. And these are works that are priced to sell. This is an exhibition that goes on for about five weeks, but it is really designed to provide our local community an opportunity to buy handmade original artworks. It's one of our first return-to-live events. We are asking people to mask, but we will have light refreshments and a donation-based bar. And many of the 30 artists will be on site in their studios, so you can come talk to them and hang out in their studios. We'll have a lot of exciting and interesting people there.

MH: Tell me a little bit more about the artists themselves and what kind of work they'll be showing.

SV: So the 30 artists, we do have something that makes us unique. We have a whole ceramics wing. So we have a kiln room. We have eight artists who produce handmade ceramics and they always make a wonderful gift. We also have some artists that make spectacular art pieces. They're not just craft items. They're vases and tabletop sculptures. We have printmakers. Kathy Sherin has done a series of small 5 inches by 5 inches and 6 inches by 6 inches pieces. We have lots of original paintings. We have Mohammad Zaman, who is a calligraphy artist. He combines Bengali, Arabic and English in his large paintings, but he also will do small work. We have fabric, we have scarves. One of our staff is a brilliant jewelry maker, joyfulenergy. She'll have her jewelry there.

So there really is an opportunity for someone to come and find the perfect gift that really no one else will have. You know, it's 30 unique, original artists, and they're chosen in large part to reflect the diversity both of mediums, but also just of individuals in our community. Our artists are young and old. They come from all areas of Western York, all experiences of Western New York.

MH: I wonder how many people realize the amount of artistic creativity at the Tri-Main Center.

SV: Matt Wolfe and the Tri-Main Development Corporation came into Western New York just over 30 years ago. And they purchased the building, what had been formerly a Trico windshield wiper factory. it's a 100-year-old building. And they took what they called an arts and culture first approach. They recognized that if they brought in both the arts community, as well as the social Justice and human services community, that it would build a lot of trust within the larger neighborhood, as well as providing meaningful services for the neighborhood. And that's been true at Tri-Main.

Neglia Ballet is upstairs from us. They'll be getting ready for their big Thanksgiving weekend performance of "The Nutcracker." So if you come and see us, don't be surprised if there are people zipping in and out of the elevator in their leotards. And we share that elevator with agencies that serve people that need mobility assistance. Journey's End is there. They also have an urban farm just around the corner, behind one of the parking lots — which are behind the building — and they sell produce all summer long in the lobby. So we really see this amazing convergence of what I believe is the best of Buffalo: good neighbors coming together, sharing their passions, sharing their artistic vision and really just developing some real compassion and understanding for difference.