BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) – There’s an amazing non-profit organization located on the fifth floor of the Tri-Main Center that believes everyone should have equal access to the arts.
Since 1991, Buffalo Arts Studio has provided local and regional artists with affordable studio space while offering a robust arts education program for both adults and youth.
“A word we use so often is ‘community.’ That’s really at the heart of what we do,” says Shirley Verrico, curator at Buffalo Arts Studio. “It’s a community of artists and artists for the community.”
It is this approach and vision that has helped establish Buffalo Arts Studio as a staple of Western New York’s arts community.
“Creativity begets community, ideas beget ideas,” says Verrico. “People here cooperate, talk to each other and talk to visitors. You really get to see into the mind of the artist.”
Buffalo Arts Studio currently has 30 artists working in their studio spaces.
“It’s very homey and family-like,” says Muhammad Zaman, who has occupied studio space at BAS for the past six years.
“I found a community, a family,” says Zaman. “To come here, to see other artists and other works. I’m just inspired. I think it makes us want to do better and improve our work. Just push harder.”
Linda Toomey is a retired elementary art teacher from Williamsville who also says Buffalo Arts Studio feels like home.
“When I retired, I needed time to think and calm down,” said Toomey, who has worked at the Tri-Main Center for 20 years. “I love the camaraderie. I love leadership. I have so many friends here.’
Many of the artists also participate in the center’s educational program.
One of the highlights of BAS’ educational opportunities is the “Jump Start” program, which offers training to high school students interested in visual arts.
“It’s an intense program and it’s really exciting,” says Verrico. “We have students from all over Western New York, including half of our student population from the city of Buffalo. We’re really committed to these kids, they’re really committed to us.”
Verrico says Buffalo Arts Studio provides scholarships to many of the students who attend the Jump Start program.
“Many of these kids are not the kind of kids who excel in traditional academic settings. They are artists. They find a support system here. They find their community. We meet them where they are”
Buffalo Arts Studio also has three professional-level gallery spaces that hold approximately twelve exhibitions annually and hosts a number of community events, including the upcoming Studio Artist Show and Sale.
The annual event will be held on Saturday, November 19 from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM in the gallery space. Most of the artwork on display tonight will be available for purchase straight off the wall.
“It’s a great way to support local artists,” says Verrico.
The Buffalo Arts Studio is open to the public from 11:00 PM to 5:00 PM Tuesday through Friday. And 10:00 – 14:00 on Saturdays. BAS is free to attend with a suggested donation of $3 per person.
“We want this to continue to be a place where people come together, where this idea of community is central and where we learn from each other,” Verrico said.