This past May, I wrote about a world renowned artist – Michael Bevilacqua – who was coming to Buffalo to exhibit his works. Yes, that happens all the time, but what made this appearance even more interesting is that the curators wanted to show Bevilacqua’s in a space that wan not a typical gallery setting. They identified the former Saint Francis Xavier School (147 East Street) as their target, as the building had been picked up by a local gallerist.
The highly anticipated opening reception for the show was held on Thursday, May 17, and ever since curator Melissa Edwards has held regular gallery hours inside the converted gym (to gallery). Not only that, she has also orchestrated a couple of happy hour showings, one of which is this evening, from 4pm to 8pm.
In preparation for the happy hour showing, I decided to ask Melissa a couple of questions about the event/show:
How did the pop-up gallery exhibit end up at the former Saint Francis Xavier School?
The biggest question I’ve been getting lately is “Why not Hertel or Elmwood WHY Black Rock?” The first answer I give them is, I wanted to be off the grid, I wanted people go somewhere they possibly never have been or even have heard of. Coming from Paris to Buffalo, I really felt like we needed to be different, I wanted to standout. I mean I for one have never been to Black Rock before planning this exhibition. I’m from Elma, I had no business being downtown when I was younger. The most vivid memory I have of going downtown Buffalo was when one my girlfriends and I went to go see her uncle Mark Freeland perform at the Allentown Art Festival. It honestly feels like it was yesterday when it was, what, 15 or 16 years ago? I was actually thinking about it last weekend. Talk about full circle.
It’s interesting to think that Black Rock is still kind of a new territory for a lot of Buffalonians, right?
I was sitting at the bar last week eating lunch at Forty Thieves and I started talking to these three gentlemen next to me and they asked “Black Rock?! Ohh okay that’s near Sportsmens Tavern… I feel like our city has given this neighborhood, that has so much potential, a bad rep/rap. The Sportsmens is great – I just went to The Tabernacle last night – that was awesome. We took Michael, friends and some of our collectors from NYC to Roost after our opening on the 17th – they couldn’t believe they were in Buffalo (they didn’t know what to expect from this city).
How has the neighborhood responded?
Thursday, a neighborhood couple walked in the gallery, we chatted for a bit and then they signed our notebook we have in the front with their home address and said to me “If you’re not busy later, we are having a bonfire and playing some music, come on by. I LOVE BLACK ROCK.”
What would you tell someone considering coming to the show?
I don’t want people to be afraid to visit us. I get asked “What should I wear?” I’m like guys, think of it as our home, what would you wear to my house? Everyone is welcome to come visit. I encourage it. Being in a huge gymnasium surrounded by 19 Michael Bevilacqua works is wildly inspiring.
Michael Bevilacqua to exhibit at former Saint Francis Xavier School
Thursday, June 14, 2018 (and following two consecutive Thursdays, until show wraps up)
5 PM – 9 PM
Complimentary drinks while they last
Gallery hours: Wednesday – Saturday | 11AM – 4PM
Former Saint Francis Xavier School 147 East St, Buffalo, NY 14207-2707