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UB'S Arts Collaboratory Provides Socially-Distanced Art

by Jackie Hausler

"LET'S MAKE ART!" encourages artists to keep creating and propel change, bringing magnetic musical impresario Michael Mwenso to Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The University at Buffalo Arts Collaboratory is kicking off its second year of programming in a massive display of Buffalo artists’ work under one roof for a living installation called “Show Your Work.” With the belief that art can be a powerful agent of social change, the UB Arts Collaboratory is turning the atrium of UB’s Center for the Arts into an expansive portrait gallery featuring local painters, dancers, musicians, writers, actors and creators—all displaying samples of their work on the walls.

“These artists represent the vast artistic diversity of Buffalo and have kept the cultural heart of our city beating despite the hardships we’ve all faced this year,” stated Bronwyn Keenan, director of the UB Arts Collaboratory. “They have not allowed the pandemic to become the death of the region’s vibrant culture.”

Under the theme, “LET’S MAKE ART!”, the program will also encourage collaboration and experimentation, producing ideas that will move people forward. While intent on introducing Buffalo’s artists to new audiences, another goal is for the artists to get to know each other.

“We believe collaboration, not isolation, fosters creativity,” said Keenan. “If we’re going to change the world for the better, we’ll need the best ideas, the most powerful voices, and an entire army of creators and artists.”

As part of that effort, the UB Arts Collaboratory is introducing new voices to Buffalo’s cultural mix. Internationally acclaimed musician, singer and dancer, Michael Mwenso, leader of “Mwenso and the Shakes is the visiting professor in the arts. Working with UB’s Departments of Music and Theatre and Dance, Mwenso will explore the ways in which people of color have always propelled change in this country with a curriculum aptly titled, “Protest, Hope and Resilience through the Black Arts.”

The Buffalo Arts Calendar and Index
The Buffalo Arts Calendar is a new, free resource to house a comprehensive listing of every artist and arts-related activity or performance under one umbrella. The calendar is created by the community, for the community and all are welcome to participate. The goal of the calendar is to list every exhibition, show, gig, festival, event, reading, opening and performance in the Buffalo region. Individual artists across all disciplines, as well as all arts organizations are invited to post, schedule and browse. Explore the Buffalo Arts Calendar at buffaloartscalendar.com.

Arts Collaboratory Student Residency at 500 Seneca: Nicole Chochrek
The UB Arts Collaboratory Student Residency is an annual opportunity for a UB student in the arts to receive a live-work space at 500 Seneca, generously donated through the sponsorship of Savarino Companies. The goals of the residency are to support and encourage the development of a UB student’s artistic practice, retain top creative talent in Buffalo and forge stronger ties to the Buffalo arts community. The 2020-2021 residency was awarded to first year MFA candidate in the Department of Art, Nicole Chochrek. She is an interdisciplinary artist utilizing visual and performative frameworks to explore contemporary issues and environmental disparities.

Working Artists Lab, Michael Mwenso, College of Arts and Sciences Visiting Professor in the Arts
Protest, Hope and Resilience through the Black Arts
Fall Semester

The Working Artists Lab centers on Michael Mwenso, of “Mwenso and the Shakes. Specializing in musical code-switching, freely adopting and repurposing the drama, whimsy and spirit of the Great American Songbook, African beats, funk, modern jazz, dance pop, Delta blues and cabaret theater with equal, effortless verve, Mwenso will collaborate with UB’s departments of Music and Theatre and Dance on his curriculum, “Protest, Hope and Resilience through the Black Arts.”  With a coalition of notable Black artists, Mwenso will lead students on a journey demonstrating how these forms of ultimate human expression have propelled change, currently play a role in the advancement of consciousness and will be a guiding force to real revolution in the future.

Into the Weeds (A Deliverance Garden), Artist: Marlene McCarty
Every Friday through Sunday, 3p.m. – 9p.m. | Silo City, Buffalo, N.Y.
Under the ecological stewardship of Josh Smith, Marlene McCarty’s "Into the Weeds" (A Deliverance Garden) permanent earthwork at Silo City is burgeoning with the vast majority of last year’s plant species thriving.

Show Your Work
Fall 2020 – Spring 2021, UB Center for the Arts Atrium
With Depression-era photographer Walker Evans in mind, Jacob Vogan BA ’19, organizes a living installation that presents a portrait of a community as a way to tangibly realize how art can positively bring about change.

Art Dealer at Art Play/Ground
Sept. 12 and Sept. 19
During Buffalo’s outdoor installation, Art/Play Ground Buffalo hip-hop collective, “ART DEALER”, will take over the storefront windows of Buffalo Center for the Arts and Technology to showcase the multi-disciplinary talent associated with their scene. Presented with UB Arts Collaboratory at Buffalo Center for the Arts and Technology

Outside Influence
Five episodes will be released on IGTV @artscollaboratory between Sept. 25 and Nov. 20.
“Outside Influence” is a show about hip-hop artists and their influences outside the genre of hip-hop hosted by ToneyBoi, one of Buffalo’s most well-known hip-hoppers and a member of the collectives “Koolie High” and “Art Dealer”.

Work
Premieres Oct. 8 - 12 on BIFF
Online screening @artscollaboratory Instagram on Oct. 23.

“Work” is a film that documents the recording process of the first album by the Buffalo-based new music ensemble “Wooden Cities.”

How Now, Season Three
Five episodes will be released on IGTV @artscollaboratory between Oct. 10 and Nov. 30.
"How Now” was initiated during the COVID-19 quarantine as a way to bring the arts together in Buffalo.

For more information on the UB Arts Collaboratory programming, visit ubartscollaboratory.com.

The University at Buffalo Arts Collaboratory is a strategic initiative of the UB College of Arts and Sciences, designed to create an environment in which creative collaboration can flourish.  The UB Arts Collaboratory brings UB and Buffalo-based artists together to spark innovation and share their art with the world.

The UB Arts Collaboratory believes if we bring creative minds together, great art and big ideas will result. Our goal is to gather artists across all disciplines together into one, big community.  And that together, we find more inspiration and power than we would on our own.

Major support provided by M&T Bank.  Additional support provided by Savarino Companies.