This just in…”Buffalo is #1 for arts and culture of mid-sized cities.” Interesting how a place so severly crippled by the cuts to arts programs, still ranks number one among medium sized cities. One would be lead to believe that the city is stirring with culture and thriving with budding and well recognized/appreciated artists. Hmmm! For those of you that live in Buffalo, PLEASE put a brother down with the special 3-D glasses, because I must be missing all the good parts of the movie.
In 2005, the city was badly wounded by a deep budget cut, where the first thing to bleed out were the art programs and cultural societies, which still haven’t fully recovered. I was once the Assistant for Community programs for one of the most recognized Art galleries in the world, right here in Buffalo, and I painfully watched 20% of the staff get walked out in one day due to the cuts. I also witnessed an entire community of well-deserving children and parents, already economically and emotionally strained, become abandoned overnight by the withdraw of the support of the FREE art programs afforded them.
Since that time, there have been a couple of improvements, but why is it, that as a Buffalo resident, I still find it hard to experience the joy and jubilation of the arts that its been recently recognized for?
I WILL say this, the Buffalo Society of Artists surely opened my eyes to some really hardcore, dedicated and talented individuals, whom refuse to let the “arts flower” wither, whether in the cold of winter or the heat of summer, the cultural rose will stand strong and the torch will remain lit. There are armies of artists, art administrators and institutions that are doing ALL that they can do to make keep this city #1 among mid-sized cities in the arts, with very little money, and we must all support and applaud their efforts, because it is them alone that fight the good fight for what remains.