On Buffalo’s hyperactive art scene, a new art or performance space seems to open its doors every month.
We hardly have time to lament the closing of alternative venues like the Vault Arthouse, Sugar City or Sp@ce 224 before some group of creative citizens bubbles up from the underground and establishes some new digs to showcase their wares. Some of these venues may not be long for this world. Others may remain for decades. Such is the nature of Western New York’s constantly morphing art world.
Here are five new venues that ought to be on any art fan’s radar:
1. Daddy’s Garage
The natural home of graffiti is on beige highway underpasses and the sides of abandoned warehouses, the hidden terminals of defunct train stations and the metal sides of passing freight cars. So it might seem a little odd, at least at first, to peer into Daddy’s Garage, a graffiti gallery and clothing boutique established last year, and see graffiti artists’ work up on the walls.
The retail portion of the space, owned by John and Carol Stiegler, features work by a constantly rotating roster of graffiti artists from around the country. On the other side of the wall, legal work by local graffiti artists can often be found on the walls. The space also occasionally features community get-togethers, such as a controversial screening of the graffiti documentary “Nickel City Vandals” late last year.
Details: The store and gallery, at 586 East Ferry St., are open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 768-1587 for more information.
In the spring, the enterprising local businessman and gallerist Jose Rodriguez ended the run of his funky art gallery, Sp@ce 224, in heart of Allentown. Fortunately for art lovers everywhere, that space was quickly snapped by the enterprising local businessman Michael Rizzo, who has transformed it into a space he calls “The Loop.” In addition to serving as headquarters for Rizzo’s retail business and his LGBT newspaper In the Loop, the small spot on Allen Street also contains the new Glow Gallery.
That gallery, operated by Marcus L. Wise of 464 Gallery, is currently featuring an installation and exhibition with sculptural work by Marissa Lehner and photography by Wise. It will feature a constantly rotating series of exhibitions, often with LGBT subject matter.
Details: Glow Gallery is at 224 Allen St. Its hours aren’t yet set in stone, so call 983-2112 before you head there to see when it’s open and what’s on the walls.
3. Project 308 Gallery
Project 308 GalleryLast summer, a new gallery founded by local entrepreneur Natalie Brown popped up in North Tonawanda. Its inaugural show featured work that visitors were invited to actually touch – a practice usually verboten in art galleries. The work, by painter Sherri Marranca, included braille lettering and starkly different textures that prompted viewers (and touchers) to consider how art could be appreciated by those without vision.
Since then, the gallery has presented an eclectic series of exhibitions meant, as its mission statement says, “to engage those who appreciate the arts, no matter their background.” Brown will host an art festival in the space Aug. 17, featuring work by more than 50 vendors, musical performances and food.
Details: Project 308 Gallery is at 308 Oliver St. in North Tonawanda. It’s open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 523-0068 for more information.
4. Coming Home Bufflao Center for Holistics and Arts
During the Buffalo Infringement Festival, which wrapped up its 11-day run Sunday, there was a near-constant flurry of activity around two small buildings on Elmwood Avenue just north of Allen Street. Coming Home Buffalo – a holistic healing shop that hosts workshops, classes, performances, exhibitions and other community activities – opened its doors last year. Its owner, Buffalo repat Toni Meldzuk, also launched a separate art space in the light-filled first floor of a house next door dedicated largely to visual arts exhibitions. Those shows rotate on a monthly basis.
Both spaces have a warm, comfortable vibe bordering on the transcendental and are meant, Meldzuk said, to be places where members of Allentown and Buffalo’s arts and healing communities can congregate and exchange ideas.
Details: Coming Home Buffalo is at 140 Elmwood Ave. and the adjoining space, called The Gallery Next Door, is at 138 Elmwood Ave. The spaces are open on Tuesday and Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. Call 884-2646 for more information.
5. Meridian West
In terms of wall space, the 1,200-square-foot Meridian West, which opened last November in a former wine store on Hertel Avenue, is one of the largest new galleries to pop up in the past few years. It’s co-owned by George Grace and Nancy Clarke Mariani, local artists with a passion for promoting their fellow painters, sculptors and craft artists. The gallery often features work by members of the Buffalo Society of Artists.
On Saturday, Grace and Mariani will take down the gallery’s current show of abstract paintings and replace it with an exhibition featuring work by local collage artists. That show, curated by artist and collector Gerald Mead, will run into mid-September.
Details: Meridian West is at 1209 Hertel Ave., with summer hours from 1 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call 768-3805 for more information.