Since first moving to Buffalo in 2014 and starting Project Grant, Tina Dillman has been busy bringing the art experience to a broader range of people, especially young people. By taking the arts to the parks, with specialized programming, Dillman has managed to affect positive change in all directions.
Now Dillman is capitalizing on her grassroots successes by amplifying the message. She is embarking upon hosting a series of festivals and spirited art gatherings in all corners of the city.
In 2016, Dillman will be planting stakes in the Old First Ward, at the community center, where she will be introducing a Summer Social on July 23, from 11am-10pm, the social will include art activities, games for youth and adults, live music and a family picnic. According to Dillman, Project Grant is also organizing the Michigan Avenue Community Arts Festival that will take place on August 6, at the Michigan Riley Farm, from 1-5pm, with art and food activities, performances and a community potluck. Organizations such as ArtFarms, The Foundry and Locust Street Art will be participating. Project Grant will then be running a 6-week free art workshop at the Massachusetts Avenue Park on the West Side.
The dedication to bringing arts to the community is apparent in the way that Dillman analyzes her successes at Massachusetts Avenue park. The programming that she has orchestrated at the park has made noticeable differences in the way the people view art. She sees kids interacting with people who they would normally have little contact with. These interactions have the ability to alter a young person’s life tremendously. Where once broken glass was strewn about is now a performance space – it’s that simple. Most of us take these things for granted, and might never consider the monumental impacts that are made by these types of inclusive efforts. Dillman would like to bring similar types of urban art experiences to various other areas in need.
In its original form, Project Grant dedicated itself to calling upon artists from all over the country to visit Buffalo for various stints of time, to breathe fresh air into the art community. Any cultural-minded city would jump at the opportunity to have visiting artists interact with the established arts community. Dillman hopes to continue on with this mission. She feels that one of her strengths is that of a connector, between artists near and far.
Dillman has let it be known that she is committed to Buffalo, and she is looking forward to shaking things up as much as she can. She has also said that she is hoping to open doors whenever she can. “As the Director of Project Grant, I am committed to continuing the forward momentum of establishing my roots here in Buffalo,” stated Dillman. “By working with the local community to further develop the revitalization of neighborhoods through the arts. Buffalo is a city with a lot of heart and dedicated individuals who are making this a city where they want to live, and where others want to visit. I would like to utilize my energy by contributing to this movement that builds a better Buffalo for all.”
Images: Placing of objects on the altar, by the performers – with Tara Foley, Christina Vega-Westhoff, Ali Feser,Galia Binder and Emily Schmeichel in Buffalo, New York. Documentation of SEED, a Project Grant event (see past Facebook event) through its winter weekend residency program, 48 Hours.