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Scajaquada: Beyond the Multitude Exhibit – Combining Art and Activism

Scajaquada Creek has provided one University at Buffalo graduate student with a
source of inspiration for his latest project–an art show celebrating this historic ecosystem and its significance to the area.

“So much of the history of Buffalo
can be seen in the history of the creek, and so much energy surrounds the creek
right now in terms of renewal and rejuvenation,” said Jordan Dalton, the
curator of Scajaquada: Beyond the Multitude.
Dalton has combined his love of art with environmental activism in an effort to
show how valuable the creek is to the local community and to encourage people
to get involved with the creek clean-up taking place on September 25.

Scajaquada:
Beyond the Multitude
opened at 464 and
Blink Galleries yesterday Sunday, September 19 and continues to
run through September 23.  The
exhibition includes everything from traditional paintings to experimental
video installations, stencil prints, and performances.  It will showcase work by contemporary
regional artists, historians, performers and practitioners, as well as
contributions from artists in Athens, NY and Brooklyn, NY.  The art exhibition will coordinate with
a series of other events leading up to the Scajaquada Creek Watershed Clean-up
on Saturday, September 25.

On
Tuesday, September 21, a tour will depart from the 464 galleries at 4 p.m.  This tour will be a walk along the
creek guided by Dalton, a representative from the Scajaquada Canoe Club, and
Franklin LaVoie.  “Basically, the
tour will be a conversation in motion–nothing too formal, and the subject
matter, though centered around the creek, will vary based on who all turns up
to walk with us,” Dalton said. 
Following the tour, Franklin LaVoie will be giving a lecture at Polish
Cadets on the “Sacred Geography of Buffalo-Niagara,” based on his
research.  

On
Thursday, a performance by Toronto-based artist Jessica Thompson will begin at
10 a.m.   “She’ll be
re-tracing the upstream route of Scajaquada Creek as it passes underneath the
East Side, starting in Forest Lawn and moving east, using a push broom and
water from the creek itself to temporarily ‘paint’ a path above the buried
waterway,” Dalton said.  Thompson’s
performance will go on until she reaches Filmore Avenue.

The
exhibition will conclude with the creek clean-up on Saturday. The event will
begin at 9 a.m. at the American Legion Post 1041 and will be followed by a
cookout.  The Scajaquada Creek
clean-up is being organized by the Grant Amherst Business Association, the
Scajaquada Canoe Club, Buffalo-Niagara Riverkeeper, and several volunteers. The
creek clean up is part of a larger Watershed Clean-up weekend sponsored by
Buffalo-Niagara Riverkeeper, Niagara 350, and others. 

Dalton
hopes that those who stop by to see the exhibit, participate in the clean up,
or both, will understand the message behind his project and appreciate
Scajaquada Creek for its role in both the history and the future of the
surrounding community. “I like to think that even if someone doesn’t step foot
in the gallery, if he or she participates in the clean-up, he or she is making
art,” he said.  “But if you do go
in the gallery, you might learn something–learn to see something in a different
way. I think that’s where art and activism share common ground; they’re both
about making people look at an issue, recognize that something isn’t quite
right, and see how it can be made so.”

For
those interested in visiting the exhibit, the gallery is located at 464 Amherst
Street in Buffalo.  The site for
the clean-up, the American Legion Post 1041, is located at 533 Amherst Street
in Buffalo, NY.  For a complete
schedule of the week’s events, visit http://scajaquada.org.

Written by Sarah Maurer

Sarah Maurer

I moved to Buffalo to attend Canisius College in 2007 and began writing for Buffalo Rising as a journalism intern in 2010. Working with Newell and meeting numerous entrepreneurs, activists and everyday folks who were working to make their city better made a huge impact on my decision to stay here. After witnessing all the positive development and grassroots initiatives happening in neighborhoods throughout the city, I was inspired to pursue a term of service in AmeriCorps and a career in Buffalo's non-profit sector. I currently work in the housing department at the Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of WNY and am excited to be a part of their ongoing efforts to revitalize the Broadway Fillmore neighborhood. I also volunteer as the project coordinator for Artfarms Buffalo. I continue to write for Buffalo Rising because I love having the opportunity to stay connected to those working toward positive changes for the Queen City.

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