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BCAT features abstract work by students, resident artist

Get a kid in the right mindset, hand her a conte crayon or charcoal pencil, and watch a universe unfold.

That is the simple – not to say simplistic – idea behind an art exhibition opening in the Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology on Jan. 8.

The show, called “Creating the Year,” features the work of BCAT students and Ecuadorian artist and recent Buffalo transplant Patricio Calderon, who worked with the center’s art, music and video classes to produce abstract drawings he used as inspiration for a series of new paintings.

BCAT Program Director Stacey Watson said Calderon worked for more than 20 hours with BCAT students, who were encouraged to draw whatever popped into their minds after a period of meditation.

“Sometimes they don’t get to just stop and think and feel,” Watson said, “so for every single class, he walked them through a guided meditation, and then released them onto a shared canvas where they just got to be free.”

Calderon then took what the students produced – a compendium of unpredictable doodles, biomorphic figures, words and numbers - and used it to produce his own work in a donated studio space in the Trimain Building. That work will be on view alongside the students’ originals.

“This is really the first time we’ve gotten to introduce an international artist not from Buffalo as a resident artist to our youth,” Watson said. “It really validated for our young people that they’re doing something that is not just an after-school program. They’re doing something that is a job that people live on all over the world. I think it was really eye-opening for them.”

The show runs through Jan. 29 in the BCAT lobby (1221 Main St.). Call 259-1680 or visit buffaloartstechcenter.org.

-Colin Dabkowski