I just wanted to take a moment to speak to the current condition of the Charles E. Burchfield Nature & Art Center in West Seneca. First, I would like to acknowledge the dedication, passion and perseverance of the Friends of the BNAC, the all-volunteer organization who oversees center operations. Running the center comes with day to day challenges, then when coupled with a building rendered mostly uninhabitable and now dealing with recent flood damage, their task has become near impossible. Still, they have stuck together and are owed a tremendous debt of gratitude.
The facility has always invoked so much potential. From community gatherings: gallery exhibitions, classes, summer concerts, to educational and experiential opportunities for aspiring artists. It gives young people the opportunity to display their work, to work with artists and make professional contacts, which do well on college and scholarship applications. I received a $10,000 scholarship for graduate school based on my time with the BNAC.
In addition, cultural centers, when properly supported can act as an economic stimulus to the surrounding community. We’ve already seen this with commercial investment in adjacent properties and even inspired a private citizen to invest a substantial amount in a residential property so he could live across from the park.
I encourage everyone to attend the public hearing on March 5 at 6 p.m. as the future of the facility is discussed. I encourage all attendees to share their memories, their experiences and their ideas as it speaks to the as yet unrealized potential of that special place. Finally, I encourage anyone with the financial means to step forward, be a leader and show their support, as that has consistently been the only resource the facility has lacked.
Andrew M. Jarczyk-Coss