When a gallery seemingly pops up out of nowhere, you know that there’s got to be a good story behind it. Typically, these types of initiatives gather steam slowly, taking years to come to pass, especially when the gallery in question is of a more professional nature and not a pop-up.
The gallery that I’m referring to, K Art, which opened on December 11, is owned by Dave Kimelberg, a corporate attorney who lives in Buffalo, but whose office is based in Manhattan. Over the last ten years, Kimelberg has been commuting from Buffalo to NYC. But it was only more recently that he purchased 808 Main Street, with the intention of having his local law offices on the third floor, that he decided that it was time to pay tribute to his Native American ancestry, as his mother was Seneca Nation, Bear Clan.
“Dave has always been interested in the arts,” said K Art, Art Director, Brooke Leboeuf, who has been scouring Western NY, as well as the entire country, sourcing recognized, esteemed artists to exhibit – artists that typically show in NYC, Toronto, Miami, etc. “He wanted to do something with his love for the arts, as well as his Native American background.”
Upon being asked about the perceived sudden appearance of the gallery, and the team’s ability to pull off this impressive feat, Leboeuf said, “This was all Dave’s brainchild. As for appearing ‘virtually overnight,’ when he gets an idea, he moves on it, pandemic or no pandemic.”
Taking a closer look at K Art, the professional approach to the space is astounding. “It’s also a co-working space,” Leboeuf pointed out. “We looked at NYC’s high-end boutique galleries and co-working spaces, and then designed K Art. The co-working space is for people in start-up creative professions.”
What is also highly unique about K Art is that it is said to be the only commercial art space in the country solely dedicated to Native American contemporary art, owned by someone with Native American ancestry. What a tribute. And how lucky is Buffalo to be home to such a treasure – a treasure that reflects our region’s important (and oft-overlooked and under-appreciated) Native American history that we will hopefully come to better understand with the presence of this new gallery.
“It’s an incredible undertaking at the right time,” said Leboeuf, who was referring to the environmental crisis at hand, and the role and responsibility that we have to steward Mother Earth.
Yes, there couldn’t be a better time to showcase the contemporary works of Native Americans who have plenty of cautionary tales to tell through their works. To that end, Kimelberg and Leboeuf put together an insightful video that helps to lay out the gallery’s mission (combatting the loss of native culture), while introducing some of the contributing artists.
As K Art’s Art Director, Leboeuf, who was previously a contributing arts writer/reviewer for the Buffalo News, worked at the Albright-Knox as the Project Coordinator for the multi-venue arts exhibition Beyond/In WNY 2010, and served as the visual arts curator for Buffalo Arts Studio, was able to fill a role as a proficient “seeker and connector” for the fledgling gallery.
Together, Kimelberg and Leboeuf have created a cultural destination that contributes immensely to the city’s escalating art landscape.
On Thursday, January 28, they invite the community to attend a virtual panel discussion pertaining to K Art’s program and mission. The event, sponsored by Hobart and William Smith Colleges, is scheduled to take place at 7:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada).
Join Brooke Leboeuf, G. Peter Jemison, Angelique Szymanek, and David Kimelberg as they discuss the significance this venture lends to the ongoing conversation on important issues in the Native American community.
To register for the panel discussion, click here.
K Art is located in the K Haus Development at 808 Main Street, Buffalo, New York 14202 | (716) 768-3633 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Lead images: (L-R) Brooke Leboeuf, G. Peter Jemison L.H.D., Angelique Szymanek, and Dave Kimelberg. Photos courtesy of K Art and Hobart and William Smith Colleges