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Kenan Center back open with exhibition featuring artists with disabilities

The Kenan Center has been one of several Western New York art galleries navigating through COVID the past year. For the next month, they are opening their doors by appointment, showing works from Starlight Studio and Art Gallery, a group that supports adult artists with disabilities.


Kenan Center spokesperson Parrish Gibbons Herzog said COVID has permanently pushed them to translating artwork virtually. 


“This past year at the Kenan, we've added video footage to each one of our exhibitions,” Herzog said.“Starlight is home to 40 artists with learning and developmental disabilities. And they've been coming to the Kenan Center individually. And I've been making short video artist talks that will be available for the people to see too. And it's just a deeper way for people to engage with the artwork.”


Herzog said the current exhibition, Starlight Shines on the Kenan Center, was planned about a year and a half ago and had to adapt some of the development process due to the pandemic.


“At Starlight Studio, it's usually in person programming. There's an open studio in downtown Buffalo and their teaching artists are on site,” Herzog said. “And one of the biggest challenges for them was going into quarantine, these programs are shut down and the individuals who rely on going to Starlight a couple of times a week, were creating artwork from home.”


Starlight Studio has turned to Zoom production for much of the past year. Herzog said most artists have been creating in isolation.


"It's like each individual has their own exhibition within the Kenan Center," Herzog said. 


The Keenan House Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 12-4 p.m.   

The exhibit runs until March 21.


Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.