I’ve had the pleasure of knowing David Wasik for a long time now. I first met Dave “The Waz” when he was performing around town, playing acid jazz with the likes of Eric Crittenden. Dave’s drum skills are on par with the best of them, and the guy exudes a coolness that is unprecedented. Between his talents as a drummer, and his affable persona, Dave has played a big part in helping to define Buffalo as a music city with a big heart.
Dave’s heart is so big, in fact, that a few years back he founded Create A Mini-Book – an initiative that took him in a completely different direction from his music roots. The premise behind Create A Mini-Book is to engage kids in a literacy program that is disguised as an arts and craft project.
Although Dave had been telling me about his latest project for quite some time, it wasn’t until last week that I ran into him at Canalside, where he was busy handing out blank “dinosaur books” to children at the play beach. Once a child is in possession of the dinosaur book, he or she can create a story, and then use stamps and stencils to go along with the storyline. It helps that there is a “Dino Zone” located nearby to inspire the children to imagine BIG!
Along with hosting Create A Mini-Book programs at Canalside, Dave also develops programming at the City Mission, where he encourages people to create inspirational quote books. He also works with the local refugee population, to create mini-books in their own languages, which he then helps to translate into English.
With an undergrad in music, and a masters in Early Childhood Education, Dave found his calling in Buffalo on dual levels. He’s a master on the drums, and he’s a caring soul when it comes to working with children. Watching him switch up his act from drummer to educational orchestrator is fascinating. “I always felt as if my drumming was like painting colors,” he told me. “I see the colors being painted in my mind, and they lead me to play… to create the works.”
Obviously Dave’s love of ‘painting with music’ came in handy when he set out to develop the Create A Mini-Book program. It’s so nice to see someone so skillful be able to design an offshoot profession, by simply shifting his creative abilities to accommodate a need in the community. I’m sure that we all have the ability to do something similar – it’s all about self-discovery and moving out of our comfort zones. Fortunately, when we do make these shifts, there are other comfort zones to be found along the way, as Dave has successfully demonstrated.
Stay up to date with Dave and Create A Mini-Book by visiting this Facebook page.
If you are interested in participating in an upcoming session at Canalside (Dinosaur theme), be sure to attend on Wednesday, August 23, from 1 PM to 3 PM (see Facebook event).