The West Falls Center for the Arts is the winner of this year’s Spark Award for Rising Star, an award that honors a relatively new organization, an individual who is new in their position or organization, or a group or artist entering the next phase of their development. The nonprofit organization has provided visual, performing, music, culinary, and healing arts programming to its diverse rural population of West Falls, New York for the last several years, and has become a staple to its community.
The West Falls Center for the Arts offers community events and programs for artists of every level—from amateur to professional—and encourages collaboration between artists at different stages of their careers. Its ongoing programs include its Americana Acoustic Series, where local youth performers open for national talent. It also provides a free blues mentoring series for young musicians, including the Southtowns youth rock band led by Doug Yeomans, the prestigious Southtowns Youth Jazz Orchestra led by Mark Filsinger, and the new Buffalo Jazz Orchestra.
With support from the Garman Foundation and the Wilson Foundation, the center opened Memory Café.
The center also provides free community holiday meals; music clinics; masterclasses; and culinary, art, and music programming to benefit veterans and their families. It has previously received two DEC grants from ASI for a community mural project and harmonica class for veterans. Next year, the center will be adding ukulele and guitar to the veteran’s program.
With support from the Garman Foundation and the Wilson Foundation, the center opened Memory Café, a gathering place that uses music to provide socialization opportunities for caregivers and their loved ones with dementia and Alzheimers.
[Please note that ASI is closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 and its potential impact on this year’s Spark Awards on November 16. In the meantime, we still feel it’s important to spotlight the important work of our many honorees.]
Spark Awards 2020 Honorees & Finalists
We are excited to announce the 2020 Spark Awards honorees and finalists:
Arts Organization of the Year Finalists
1891 Fredonia Opera House Performing Arts Center
O’Connell & Company
Unique Theatre Co.
Artist of the Year Finalists
Chris J. Handley
The Children’s Guild Foundation Autism Spectrum Disorder Center at Oishei Children’s Hospital
DEC Program of the Year
Lewiston Council on the Arts’ Iroquois Market
Vincent O’Neill, Irish Classical Theatre Co.
West Falls Center for the Arts
Supporter of the Cultural Sector
Joel Feroleto, Buffalo Common Council Member, Delaware District
Trailblazer of the Arts
Michele Agosto, Buffalo Public Schools
Beth Pedersen, Buffalo Society of Artists