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Former Nichols Students Propose Arts Facility Expansion

Buffalo Rising recently received a copy of a proposal that was submitted to the Nichols School by Elizabeth Demakos and Kyle Winnick, two former Nichols Fine Arts students.  The proposal suggests turning the former Moot science building into an arts facility in order to bring the caliber of the school’s arts curriculum up to par with that of its other departments. This, in turn, would benefit the student population by helping promote creative learning and diversity in the curriculum, thus better preparing these students for the competitive undergraduate application process.

“I believe that this initiative would benefit not only the school, but would support the burgeoning arts scene here in Buffalo by providing a public space for their work,” said Michael Stenclik.

This proposal shows the motivation that these individuals have to take advantage of this space as a means to expand the school’s arts program and potentially change the face of the campus.  It also shows their interest in expanding the arts community here in Buffalo by providing it with a stellar art venue for up-and-coming young artists to showcase their talents.

Below is a copy of their proposal:
To whom in may concern:
It has recently come to our attention that there is a debate regarding the future of the Moot facility. As two former Fine Arts students at Nichols School and as continuing enthusiasts, we implore you to consider turning Moot into an arts facility. Such a transformation would benefit not only the Nichols community, but redefine the arts curriculum at Nichols to make our school a formidable arts institution in Buffalo.
The current art studio space is dwarfed both in size and in resources by its surrounding departments. While the current facilities have sufficed thus far, it would be greatly advantageous to the Arts programs to capitalize on Moot’s availability. It would effectively mean larger studios, potential for exhibition space, and proper lighting among other benefits. Studio space could be diversified to accommodate such genres as printmaking, pottery, sculpture, and architecture. The range of studio courses offered would be unparalleled by neighboring schools. This would irrefutably increase students’ experiences and facilitate a more vast and profound immersion into the artistic world.
The Arts promote creativity – a characteristic that, when honed, is valuable for both a student’s education and future career. A better experience will help students fully realize their creativity, benefiting them in myriad ways. Moreover, the Arts offer students a way to diversify themselves and stand out in an increasingly competitive college applicant pool, especially among liberal art colleges. Proper facilities and sufficient space are critical to achieving a desired end-product in an artistic endeavor. Many schools have a vibrant arts program that will propel the Nichols student to the top of the applicant list should he or she achieve that body of work. Expanding the Art space into Moot hall, it follows, could allow for greater independent work space to develop individual portfolios. A masterful body of work would undoubtedly increase the strength of that student’s application and better the overall chance of acceptance.
We realize that funding is a considerable issue; however, we believe the potential benefits are immense. The arts department would match the caliber of the remaining campus. Our own Nichols experiences were defined by a positive artistic development under excellent teachers. We can only imagine how much more rich that experience would have been in a first-rate facility envisioned for Moot.
Please recognize our support for this change.
Very cordially yours,
Elizabeth Demakos ’05 & Kyle Winnick ’05
For more information on this project, visit the Facebook page.

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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