Artist Larry Griffis, Jr. left an indelible mark on Buffalo and Western NY. A World War II vet and successful businessman turned full-time artist in the late 1950s, Griffis was an unstoppable creative force until his death in February 2000. In 1969, Griffis created the Essex Arts Center – an artist living and studio space on Essex Street in Buffalo which spawned numerous arts organizations including Hallwalls and CEPA Gallery. He created Griffis Sculpture Park in the mid-1960s, which first resided at Kissing Bridge and then moved in 1968 to 425 acres in East Otto in Cattaraugus County. His public sculptures “Spirit of Womenhood” on the Scajaquada Expressway, “Birds Excited Into Flight” on Bidwell Parkway, and “Flat Man” at the Outer Harbor, as well as many private sculptures are still standing tall decades later.
In 1969, the Ashford Hollow Foundation was formed to help manage the Griffis Sculpture Park and Essex Arts Center. The Foundation is celebrating their 50th anniversary with a series of events throughout the year, including their summer festival and a NIGHT LIGHTS themed event at the sculpture park in September.
The first event “The 50th Anniversary Essex Party” will take place Saturday, June 8, 2019, 7:00 p.m. at the Essex Arts Center located at 30 Essex Street in Buffalo. If you ever attended an Ashford Hollow Foundation event, it’s always a blast. They attract a fun and creative crowd that are always up for a good party.
This event is going to take place throughout the Essex Arts Center and will be very interactive, including steel sculpture projects designed by guests for their personal collection, music, tours of the new Essex Arts Center renovated spaces, dancing, full cocktail bar, music and passed hors d’oeuvres. The evening will serve as a wonderful tribute to Larry Griffis, Jr. and how his contributions to Buffalo are still going strong decades later.
Tickets for this fundraiser are $75 per person or $950 for a table and can be purchased here.