Young Audiences of Western New York and CS1 Curatorial Projects have been jointly recommended for a $100,000 award that will allow the organizations to bring celebrated African-American artist Nick Cave to Buffalo for a year-long residency project called Plenty. The National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Our Town grant will allow Cave to open an artistic dialogue between oft-disparate communities in Buffalo that include African-American, Burmese, German, Indian, Iraqi, Irish, Native-American, Hispanic, Polish, Somalian, Sudanese, and Ukrainian.
Buffalo is now becoming a melting pot of cultures, much as it once was at the turn of the century. In recent years, we have seen major strides in integration on the West Side, mainly due to the influx of refugees. Buffalo is finally starting to resemble an integrated city, when taking the West Side into consideration. There is much work to be done on the East Side of the city however, and the hope is that this significant project can start the dialogue, along with the healing process.
“I have found through my most recent work, like Here Hear in Detroit and As Is in Shreveport, that when we get close enough to actually trust one another real compassion and consequent change can actually happen,” says Cave. “It is these types of places, one’s with real power ready to explode through the surface, that are most intriguing to me. I feel Buffalo and its Rust Belt history will effect me personally as well as be forever fueled by the work we make together there.”
In order to jumpstart the conversation, temporary public art pieces will be used to drum up dialogue throughout the city. These placemaking initiatives have been very successful elsewhere, especially with the inclusionary assistance of community groups, students, organizations and fellow artists.
It is these types of places, one’s with real power ready to explode through the surface, that are most intriguing to me.
The culmination of this Cave-led ‘community interaction’, considered his largest to date, will introduce floats, dance mash-ups and performances beginning in fall 2017. The project will showcase four public performances at city parks in spring of 2018. The grand finale will be held at Silo City in July of 2018, where Cave will organize a parade, performance and celebration.
“For six years, Our Town has made a difference for people and the places where they live, work, and play,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Projects such as the one led by Young Audiences and its partners help residents engage the arts to spark vitality in their communities.”
This project is being spearheaded by CS1 Curatorial Projects and Young Audiences of Western New York with Say Yes to Education Buffalo, Silo City, Ujima Company Inc. Additional partners include the African American Cultural Center, City of Buffalo, Buffalo State College, Buffalo Public Schools, Le Ballet Touba, El Museo, Hispanic Heritage Council of WNY, Lehrer Dance, Open Buffalo, Squeaky Wheel, Torn Space Theater, and the Wash Project.
Leadership Team: Nick Cave, Artist; Robert Faust, Nick Cave Special Projects Director; Claire Schneider, Director, CS1 Projects; Cynnie Gaasch, Executive Director, Young Audiences of Western New York; Lorna C. Hill, Artistic Director, Ujima Company; David Rust, Executive Director, Say Yes to Education Buffalo; Rick Smith, CEO, Rigidized Metal, Steward, Silo City
Working Group: Michele Agosto, Supervisor of Art Education, Buffalo Public Schools; Max Anderson, Director of Communications, Open Buffalo; Marvin Askew, Executive Director, Buffalo City Ballet; Lynn M Boorady, Director Fashion Department Buffalo State College; Craig Centrie, Executive Director, El Museo; Paulette Harris, Artistic Director, Paul Robeson Theatre, African American Cultural Center; Robin Hibbert, Le Ballet Touba; Sarah B Hinderliter, Coordinator of the African and African American Studies Program, Buffalo State College; Carlos Jones, Associate Dean, School of Arts and Humanities, Buffalo State College; Kevin Kline, Education Director, Squeaky Wheel; Jon Lehrer and Immanuel Naylor, Director and Assistant Director, Lehrer Dance; Tara Lyons, Young Audiences; Casimiro Rodriguez, President, Hispanic Heritage Council; George Scott, Colored Musicians Club; Dan Shanahan, Executive Director, Torn Space Theater; John Siskar, Senior Advisor for Educational Pipeline Initiatives, Office of the Provost, Buffalo State College; Zaw Win, Resident Coordinator, Wash Project