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Things to Look Forward to in 2016

After finishing the last article of 2015, I thought it would be most fitting if I started off our new year, with a top 10 list of places, artists and events that I’m looking forward to. Feel free to leave a comment below of what you’re excited to see and experience this year. Since, I’m only into my second year of living here, I know there are things that are not on my radar that should be. I would hate to miss something good! Cheers to a beautiful and prosperous, 2016!

  1. Anticipation of New Spaces Opening

Dennis Maher, architect, artist and educator, has plans to open Assembly House 150, an experimental art and architectural space, at 150 Edward Street, the former site of the Immaculate Conception Church. The site is still undergoing rehab, and public programming is currently in development, but I will be sitting down with Dennis in the near future and will bring you the full scoop soon.


Emily Tucker of Benjaman Gallery, will be opening a new contemporary gallery later this spring behind the Richmond Ferry Church. The original Benjaman Gallery will stay put on Elmwood with its current modern and antique art collection. Emily will have a whole roster of local artists that she’ll be representing and showcasing in solo and group shows. I’ll report back on this closer to the opening date.

As for the Richmond Ferry Church, renovations on that building are not slated to finish till late in the year, so most likely it remain unopened to the public, except for “pop up” events, but you never know, so stay tuned.

  1. More Public Art

Keep your eyes peeled, cause you never know when you’ll see something, and then ask yourself, “Is that art?” – The Key to Public Art

I really wanted to plug here the importance of getting to know your neighborhood by walking (and please use the sidewalk for god sake.) There are beautiful murals (works paid for by others) and street art around the city in places that you’ll least expect that will leave you with a smile or a Facebook/Instagram pic. Not to mention what we should all already know, but the architecture in this town is to die for (and the gardens when the white stuff is not around.) Do yourself a favor and take a walk. It’s great exercise and I promise you’ll see something you like.


We should all also, keep our eye out for the Curator of Public Art at the Albright-Knox, Aaron Ott. The museum just received a grant from the NEA that will allow them to bring back Amanda Browder from NYC for another project. Just this past fall, Amanda was in town working with UB’s art galleries. I love her work, which you can currently see on view through January 10, at the Center for the Arts on the North campus. With a year under his belt, I’m looking forward to seeing what other projects he and the museum have in store for Buffalo. Has anyone seen the shirts hanging at the Buffalo Airport?

  1. Alternative Spaces

Ok, if you haven’t been to Dreamland Studio & Gallery or Sugar City before or if you haven’t been in awhile then you need to make sure you get (re)acquainted. Both organizations have gallery spaces, but also host music, film and other events that are definitely worth checking out.


Dreamland is a safe space for Queers, Women and Trans*folk, and Sugar City is an all ages venue (they serve no alcohol). Both spaces have a donation base system, because they want to have an accessible venue for all. Keeping these two spaces around is a very worth cause: a note to self, both are non-profits, so your donation would be tax-deductible ; )

  1. echo Art Fair

12483504_10153895958108453_1512763106_nIn its fifth year of operating in Buffalo, Frits Abell’s business venture may finally be taking off. According to their Facebook posts, 75% of artists and galleries that have submitted applications for this year are from outside of Buffalo. This year the fees were raised and the location was again moved, as part of his philosophy to activate buildings and spaces that are currently unoccupied.

This year the echo Art Fair will be housed in a warehouse on the East Side that was designed by industrial architect, Albert Kahn, who is well known for his contributions to the city of Detroit. Mark your calendars for this event that will be taking place, May 13-15.

  1. Art Parties

12467758_10153895958128453_303447181_nWell Buffalo is in for a treat this year with Hallwalls holding a “WNY Style” auction party (instead of their bi-annual Artists and Models) in the summer, and word on the street is that Squeaky Wheel will be holding their infamous Peepshow again this coming year in the fall.

Not only do these types of events provide guests with once in a lifetime experiences, (Peepshow 2015 was held in the penthouse of 500 Seneca, which is now being converted into office spaces), but they allow artists the opportunity to experiment and create work for new spaces and for new audiences. These events are also an important stream of revenue for the non-profits that host them, so be sure to do your part and attend their events. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

  1. CEPA Art Auction

Speaking of fundraisers, CEPA Gallery will be holding their 13th Biennial Art Auction this coming spring. Auctions in the past have included works by internationally known artists such as Marion Faller, Hollis Frampton, Cindy Sherman, Walid Raad, and William Wegman, and local favorites Jan Nagle, Shasti O’Leary-Soudant and Reinhard Reitzensten. This auction will include mostly prints and some paintings, so if you are looking to add to your collection or start collecting, this is a fantastic way to accomplish that.


Auctions are so much fun, you feed off of the bidding energy, while being catered to like royalty, with a bottomless bar and buffet. The available auction lots will be posted on their site prior to the event, and in case you are unable to attend, but you see something that you must have, don’t forget about absentee bidding. These types of events are an investment because they take up lots of time to plan and organize, so don’t be afraid when you see the cost of the ticket (it was $75 in 2014), the organization needs to pay for the event somehow, but just remember this is a fundraiser, the purpose is to raise money for the operations of the organization, so don’t forget your credit card!

  1. Burchfield Second Fridays

The Burchfield Penney is an important art and cultural staple of the Buffalo community that I hope you all frequent. For those who may not be as familiar, I want to let you all know of their second Friday programming that is sponsored by M&T Bank. On Second Fridays, museum goers get free entry into the museum, and in the evening have access to screenings, talks, workshops and musical performances.


Don Metz, the Director of Public Programs is a seasoned veteran, and will never let you down. I had the pleasure to work with him last summer on a project at the museum, and for something where everything could have gone wrong, it flowed so smoothly, and turned out to be a fantastic event. The Burchfield is a beautiful museum that focuses on exhibiting regional artists and the permanent collection of Charles Burchfield. This is a place where there is something for everyone. The museum is open on Second Fridays 10am-8pm, with the special programming beginning at 5:30pm.

  1. Pausa Art House

12463865_10153895958178453_1029844050_nLocated right around the corner from the heart of Allen Town, in the former location of Sugar City, is now a Thursday – Saturday night, adult hang out place to hear good music in a small venue that is surrounded by local artists’ work. Admission ranges from $5 and up depending on the show, and they accept only cash at the door. There can sometimes be 2 shows per night at 7pm & 9pm, or one at 8pm.

You can find a wide range of wine and beer, and they serve tapas and sandwiches, and have a minimum of $10 for credit cards. Pausa showcases a range of music from Afro-Cuban to Jazz to Tango. I should also mention that this Friday, January 8, from 6-11pm, its free admission for the opening reception of local painter, Mary Begley, who will be exhibiting a new series of abstract paintings. Once you see the space, you’ll want to go in, and who knows, you might become a regular. I have yet to visit this place, but can tell you I am looking forward to my next date, because I know where I’m going.

  1. Starlight Studio & Art Gallery

Ok, here is another place that I have yet to visit and I don’t have a good reason why. Located near downtown on Delaware, Starlight provides adults with disabilities the opportunity to work with professional artists in developing their artistic interests.


Every month there is a show highlighting work produced by the students and their mentor, and just by the looks of the website, there is some pretty great work being made. Their next event is Friday, February 3rd, from 6-8pm. I hope to see you there!

  1. The Unexpected/Unknown

I want to be surprised. I want to be taken aback and thrown from my boots. I want people to keep pushing boundaries, push yourself, push others, to continue thinking outside of the box, and while you’re at, push the box out of your way too.


About the author / Tina Dillman

First and foremost an Artist, Tina has taken on many roles during her lifetime. At the mere age of 36, she has held multiple positions and developed arts organizations, including Project Grant here in Buffalo. As an Artist she is interested in working with her community in developing the cultural backdrop that we call home, in making the surroundings a beautiful and inspiring place to be. Tina has published previous writings in the area with Art Voice and The Public, and also established The Public’s art gallery listing. Tina is also currently employed with Manuel Barreto, as the gallery manager.

Direct questions or comments about this article should be sent to Tina Dillman /

Written by Tina Dillman

Tina Dillman

Growing up in Central, New York was a lot like living in a closet, but with a great view. At 18, she went off to college to find herself and to see what the world had in store for her. She has lived in various parts of the country, California being her favorite, and has traveled outside the US borders. She hopes to live her last years in Mexico, along the Pacific coast, in a pueblo hut that has a thatched roof that sits right on the beach, so she can always hear the sound of the ocean, and feel the sand beneath her feet. Here, she would continue with her childhood fascination of collecting seashells and read as many books as her eyes would permit.

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