By Rebecca Bratek:
Casa de Arte is a new art gallery that is dedicated to presentation of artists from both Cuernavaca, Mexico and right here in Buffalo. Through theAsociación Cultural Buffalo Cuernavaca (ACBC) and husband-wife curator and director duo, Rick Williams and Mara Odette Guerrero, artists will be able to share their works between two cities, uniting and celebrating the cultural differences.
“We came up with the idea of having a cultural exchange, bringing artists from Mexico [to Buffalo] and vice versa, bringing artists from Buffalo to Mexico. I think because through art, we could communicate, we could know more about each other,” Guerrero said. “We had this [idea] to bring artists from Mexico because we share [the fact] that people don’t understand exactly what [each] city is about.”
Williams, originally from South Buffalo, met Guerrero while working in Washington, D.C. She was from Mexico, a widow, working on her art in the capital. They found that their shared love for the arts crossed cultural borders and wanted to find a way to celebrate each of their birthplaces’ rich history. They worked to form ACBC and first established an exhibition in Cuernavaca at the Centro Cultural Universitario earlier this year.
On Friday, August 19th, the Casa de Arte, one of Buffalo’s largest art gallery spaces, will open its doors for its first exhibition in conjunction with ACBC. Through this gallery and exhibitions in Cuernavaca, the group hopes that people from both communities will have a better understanding of each other’s cultures. The gallery on Elmwood, along with its sister in Cuernavaca, will include paintings, photographs, sculptures, film showings, architecture, music, and other installations.
Guests are welcome to visit the gallery as it opens its doors for the first time. From 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., guest can enjoy a free reception and view sculptures, paintings, and other works of art from some of the best artists Buffalo and Cuernavaca has to offer. The night’s festivities will include a lecture on urban planning by an architect from Cuernavaca; mariachis and a soprano singer from Cuernavaca are also scheduled to perform.
One noted Buffalo artist will pay homage to Ben Shahn, who designed two of the magnificent stained glass windows at the Temple Beth Zion on Delaware Avenue. This traces back to Diego Rivera, the renowned Mexican muralist, who asked Shahn to help with murals he was painting for Rockefeller Center’s RCA building. A lecture on Shahn’s work and work he inspired will also take place Friday night.
“Most people have never heard of Cuernavaca so I think the underlying motivation for all of this is because we live in both places and we go back and forth, we keep seeing daily deluge of negative information about Mexico,” Williams said. “If people have never been here, they go by whatever images they see or here. And you don’t see anything on the news about the architecture in Buffalo. And we just feel like it’s our obligation to tell Mexico how beautiful Buffalo is and tell Buffalo how beautiful Cuernavaca is.”
Casa de Arte is located at 141 Elmwood Avenue, right between Allen and North. Free parking will be available on Elmwood or in the rear of the gallery. For more information on the opening, the gallery, and the association, visit www.buffalo-cuernavaca.com or call
Williams and Guerrero at (716) 240-9248.