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Humanities Festival explores Buffalo's 'Renaissance' and more

Now in its third year, the Buffalo Humanities Festival---an event that is as ambitious as it is eclectic--- will again gather some of the region's top scholars. Professor David Castillo, director of the Humanities Institute, says the three-day event, which begins Thursday, looks to create "meaningful bridges between our academic enterprises and the community at large."


"Renaissance Remix" was selected as the theme for this year's festival. "We always look for a theme that relates well to the city," says Professor Elizabeth Otto, executive director of the Humanities Institute. While the Renaissance will be revisited, many of the programs will look at what is being called the "Renaissance" of Buffalo.

"The idea is to look at it from a critical standpoint to see if there are segments of the population that are left behind and what we can do to actually make sure that this rebirth of the Buffalo economy benefits everyone, not just a few," Castillo said.

The festival kicks off Thursday at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library with a free event, "The Economics of Segregation: A Town Hall on Race and the Buffalo Renaissance." It starts at 6:30. On-line registration is required.

On Friday, best-selling author Dava Sobel will speak on "The Rebirth of the Heavens" at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. She'll sign books and hold a dialogue with audience members starting at 8 p.m.

Saturday is a day filled with events at Buffalo State College and the Burchfield Penney Art Center. In all, 12 scholarly talks will touch upon a variety of aspects of the Renaissance theme. Additional pieces include performances by Shakespeare in Delaware Park, short films and a series of "family-friendly events." Free lunch from West Side Bazaar will be provided to those who purchase tickets on-line by this Wednesday. The day pass also allows for free admission to the Burchfield Penney.  

The agenda was assembled to draw the broadest audience possible.

"There is something to say about the art of conversation," Castillo said.  

"So, I think a lot of people really welcome opportunities for meaningful extended dialogues on things that matter to them."

Monday - Friday, 6 a.m. - 10 a.m.

Jay joined Buffalo Toronto Public Media in 2008 and has been local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" ever since. In June, 2022, he was named one of the co-hosts of WBFO's "Buffalo, What's Next."

A graduate of St. Mary's of the Lake School, St. Francis High School and Buffalo State College, Jay has worked most of his professional career in Buffalo. Outside of public media, he continues in longstanding roles as the public address announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and as play-by-play voice of Canisius College basketball.