Where can a family with children go on a Saturday to participate in both indoor and outdoor activities, collective artistic work and support local start-up businesses besides? It’s The Foundry on Northampton and I recommend it for anyone looking for someplace new to discover on the Eastside of Buffalo. The event is best for families with babes in arms, small children in strollers or the set five years old and up. Free-range toddlers who explore the world by putting things in their mouths might not be well-suited to the environment. It’s located in a large industrial space at 298 Northampton Street in Buffalo and there is a fenced in parking lot adjacent to the building so it’s easy to spot and to find off street parking.
The Second Saturday event on September 12th is called “Art Making at The Foundry” and is free to the general public. It starts at noon and ends by 4:00 p.m. There will be live music, art and crafts to purchase and demonstrations of skill. There is a mural-making project on the outside wall of The Foundry. When we visited in August, there was a five-year-old wearing safety goggles, delightedly smashing the ceramic tiles with a sledge hammer so they would be small enough to fix onto the pre-painted areas on the building.
The Foundry is a neighborhood anchor institution, an incubator system for small businesses in a 25,000 square foot space. It’s a project of “Net Positive” which is affiliated with Buffalo’s Wellness Institute. They provide workshop and office space for artists, artisans, tradespeople and small businesses as well as production, office and store space for entrepreneurs and also business mentoring. The small businesses share not only the space but also tools, knowledge, and enthusiasm while the rent includes utilities, wifi, a security system, and professional development classes.
They open their doors wide to the community every second Saturday of the month as well as during special events which include an upcoming fiber arts meeting to gauge interest, and metal working and woodworking labs for skill development. Find out details on their website or Facebook page.
On a sunny August Saturday, we saw children from the neighborhood stopping by to participate in the mural-making as well as new and old friends coming by car to say hello and participate in the activities even for a short while. Director Megan McNally explained to me that the mural-making project is a great community builder. She also told me that the group at The Foundry tends a community garden down the street where they have been harvesting apples and sharing them with the neighborhood children.
In addition to all that constructive and cooperative activity that at The Foundry, the most intangible yet significant aspect is that children are exposed to the kind of grass roots activity that has made Buffalo great. It takes active participation to make things happen; we are not a community of passive participants. Since children take in everything they encounter, including the quality of the human beings in their environment, they are well served by being in the company of community and action-oriented adults who know that we all sink or swim together. Come support the artists and entrepreneurs at The Foundry and have fun while you are there!