Niagara Gazette —
There are five different events happening at the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center today, and each one of them seems to fortify the art center's mission as a cornerstone of culture in the city.
There are three distinctly different art exhibitions opening today, along with a celebration of the successful matching of an Oishei grant, as well as a tour through the building to show potential supporters what exactly goes on in the former high school, now home to a multitude of artists and art activities.
Most importantly, the NACC is holding its first juried art show, to be judged by Anthony Bannon, director of the Burchfield Penney Art Center.
Bannon chose 55 works out of about 120 entries and awarded five prizes. Nikki Catalano-Ritchey won first place for her sculpture “Erotica”; James Craig won second place for his painting “Phoson”; Jonathan Rogers won third place for his painting “To the Finish,” and honorable mentions were awarded to Jeff Bagneschi for his ink drawing “This Maid Don’t Clean” and Mike Kudela for a mixed media piece named “Not One.”
"This was our first juried show," said Kathie Kudela, director of the NACC. "A lot of artists came here just because Anthony Bannon was the judge," she added, noting that although artists came from all over the region, four of the award winners were NACC artists.
"Tony is very supportive of local arts," added Bob Drozdowski , who had reached out to Bannon to ask him to judge the show at the suggestion of NACC artist Gary Wolfe. "He's been great to work with," Drozdowski said of Bannon, who seemed particularly impressed with NACC and is coming today to hand out the awards.
The free opening celebration of the "Beyond the Barrel" show will begin at 6 p.m. The show will run through Aug. 25. Two other exhibits will be opening simultaneously as well, including one of Violet Gordon's works. The mini-exhibit, also in the main gallery, will pay tribute to the legacy of Gordon, who is listed among the "Who's Who in American Art."
A third exhibit, in the garden gallery, will feature the work of Candace Masters, a NACC board member and exhibiting member of the Buffalo Society of Artists, as well as a professor at Buffalo State in the Art Department.
In addition, the NACC will host a tour through the building from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. to showcase all the artists and creative activity that takes place in the historic building.
From 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. the NACC will hold a thank you celebration for the 200 supporters who donated large and small amounts of money to match a $15,000 Oishei Foundation grant after city funding was cut. A donor board made by NACC master carpenter Victor Marwin and master goldsmith, Rob Young, will be unveiled.
"We got a lot of wonderful notes and a lot of encouragement," said Kudela of the support by the community. "A lot of people found out what the NACC does, and a lot of people said 'yes, this is important.'
"It's all very exciting," Kudela said, adding that all are welcome to any of the free events.IF YOU GO WHAT: "Beyond the Barrel" opening of juried show and two other art exhibitions, as well as a building tour and a community reception. WHERE: Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, 1201 Pine Ave. WHEN: "Beyond the Barrel" opening reception, 6-8p.m. Friday. Exhibit runs through Aug. 25. Tour of NACC starts at 2:30 p.m. Community reception starts at 4:30 p.m. MORE INFORMATION: Call 282-7530 or visit www.thenacc.org