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Want to build an art career in Buffalo?

ASI presents Inaugural Creative Professionals Exchange: Two-Day Mini Conference

The art scene in Buffalo has always been strong, but when it comes to public art there was a time when not a lot was happening. Only in recent years have we really seen a reigniting of the arts, such as murals, and even a handful of sculptures. While public art can be inspirational for the appreciators, it can also be intimidating for the makers. While some artists, such as Mark Madden (lead image), have made successful inroads when it comes to navigating the cultural landscape, other artists are left befuddled as to where to start.

I was recently talking to a couple of artists who were hoping to paint murals in Buffalo someday. They wanted to know what it takes to become a prolific muralist such as Chuck Tingley.

Flutterby mural by Chuck Tingley

Their collective thought was, once you get a mural up, you are then recognized, and the floodgates open. While that might be somewhat true, there are so many different idiosyncrasies when it comes to who gets chosen and why. Just a couple of days ago, I was speaking with a local sculptor who was raising similar questions. As we discussed the history of public art in Buffalo, his mind raced with the possibilities. When will it be my turn?

When it comes to public art, or the art scene in general, there are so many unknowns. Where does the funding come from? Who has to approve the art? Which public officials are pushing for it? Who is purchasing it? Where does one show? How does one build a portfolio? Is it possible to make a career out of art in Buffalo?

If you’ve been asking similar questions, it might behoove you to attend an upcoming conference. Here’s how it works:

The Creative Professionals Exchange is broken up into two days with the opportunity to attend up to three sessions or panels per day, according to ASI. Arts administrators, cultural leaders, community activists, and artists of all disciplines, are all encouraged to attend.

ASI presents Inaugural Creative Professionals Exchange: Two-Day Mini Conference

Friday, October 25, 1 – 5:15 PM; Saturday, October 26, 9 AM – 1:15 PM

Tri-Main Center (2495 Main Street)

$30 for one day; $50 for two

Full schedule with session descriptions

Facebook event

Register and purchase tickets

Sessions and Panels

In Public: The Rise of Western New York’s Murals and More

Moderator: Shirley Verrico (Buffalo Arts Studio)

Presenters: Ally Spongr and Tyshaun D Tyson (Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center Mural Project), Aaron Ott and Edreys Wajed (Albright-Knox Art Gallery Public Art Program), John Baker (WNY-Urban Arts Collective), and Claudia Carballada

Exhibition Etiquette for Visual Artists

Presenters: Cindi Cherko O’Mara (Buffalo Society of Artists) and Emily Reynolds and Nando Alvarez-Perez (The Buffalo Institute for Contemporary Art)

Publishing Etiquette for Poets and Writers

Presenters: Rachelle Toarmino (Peach Mag) and Aidan Ryan (Foundlings Press)

To Be or Not to Be a Nonprofit

Presenters: Seth Wochensky (Springville Center for the Arts) and Stephanie Riso Goodwald

10 Reasons to Call Your Nonprofit Attorney

Presenter: Alyssa Gross, Esq. (William C. Moran & Associates, P.C.)

Working Artist’s Guide to Marketing

Presenter: Zack Schneider (FIFTEEN)

Branding Checklist for Creative Organizations

Presenter: Kenyana David (81Eighteen)

Art Means Business: ASI Resources for Artists

Presenters: Jen Swan (Arts Services Initiative of WNY) and Janna Willoughby-Lohr

Art Work: Becoming a Full-Time Artist

Presenters: Julia Bottoms, Julian Montague, and Kevin Heffernan (Rise Collaborative)

The Arts Mean Business: ASI Resources for Arts Organizations

Presenters: Jen Swan (Arts Services Initiative of WNY), Crystal Selk (Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology), and MarCe Zerrate-Sandel (Amor and Heritage Dance)

Building Community Power Through the Arts

Moderator: Andrea Ó Súilleabháin (Partnership for the Public Good)

Presenters: Michelle Holler (Journey’s End), Brendan Bannon, Gabriela Cordoba Vivas (Caldo de Cultivo), and Unai Reglero (Caldo de Cultivo)

Lead image:  Artist Mark Madden recently painted the courtyard at Harvey Austin BPS 97. The mural, called “Pillars of Character” will act as a meditation courtyard for children, where they can meditate, discuss issues, make music and art, or simply relax and gather inspiration. 

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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