A groundbreaking was recently held for the Centro Culturale Italiano (CCI) Di Buffalo’s new headquarters. After years of wondering what sort of development was going to take hold at the northeast corner of Delaware and Hertel, the community spoke out in favor of something more humanistic in scale. The result is the former North Park Library being transitioned into a cultural site that pays homage to the legacy of Italian heritage in Buffalo.
Now that the Italian Festival has moved to the inner core of downtown Buffalo, this heritage site will become a place for the Italian community to rally around. Currently, there is a $2 million capital campaign underway to transform the old library into a cultural and educational center.
“It will be powerful to see a space transform again into the neighborhood’s anchor, making cultural magic come to life all under one roof.” —Dr. Francesco Giacobbe, CCI Board President
“I am thrilled that this project is beginning,” said Councilmember Joel Feroleto. “It will transform the corner – the building has been vacant for over a decade. The cultural center will be a hub of activity and will welcome all community members. I have a lot of great memories at the former library, and I’m excited to continue to frequent the building in its new form. North Buffalo is firing on all cylinders – there’s so much going on, it’s incredible – from small business growth to the advancement of public art and cultural institutions.”
Once open, the center will will be a place where the entire community can learn about Italian heritage, while promoting Italian culture at the same time. One of the primary objectives is to offer Italian lessons in order to help preserve the Italian language in Greater Buffalo. Italian traditions such as La Befana, Carnevale, and the St. Joseph’s Table will also be upheld and celebrated.
Media will also be a central focus of the initiative – community members will find a wide array of resources including books, magazines, and papers, as well as videos from RAI International, and Italian radio. Other aspects of Italian culture will be demonstrated, with cooking classes, televised sporting events, guest speakers, and presentations. The center will also be an important stopping site for Italian exchange students and world travelers.
Finally, the Italian Heritage Center will help families to not only preserve their culture, but to research their ancestry, which will ensure that Italians have a stronger bond to the motherland.