August 25, 2017

I got so involved in Art Jail, Day Four that I'm just now getting a chance to post about yesterday. I think that's a good sign. :)

Yesterday my dear friend and fellow artist Marissa Lehner Bannister, knowing my week's plans, thought of an "art field trip" that I would enjoy...a drive to historic Clarence Center, east of Buffalo. Founded in the early 19th century, the town is very charming, filled with federal-style brick homes, an Italianate business block, and tons of Civil War-era vernacular structures. An architectural historian's dream! (I met the owner of the house below, and she kindly told me a little of the history of her childhood home, and how she's returned to town to fix it up, bit by bit; meeting fellow old building-lovers is one of the best parts about my work!)

My friend and I...

August 23, 2017

Yesterday was a chance to escape for a day, to a place I'd barely explored.

I arrived in the Clinton-Bailey neighborhood- where I HAVE visited the farmer's market, the wholesalers nearby, but this time I had a different purpose: I snuck into an industrial complex where I wasn't supposed to be! (Though there was no sign barring strange artists drawn to historic buildings). The warren of brick and metal structures at the intersection of Bailey Avenue and Clinton Street had long appealed to me...probably because I'd only seen them from the height of the 190 overpass. From there, the proud buildings, some ramshackle, some in seemingly-perfect condition, beckoned.

In 1889, the Snow Steam Pump Works was built on Buffalo's far east side, close to a mass of railroads and the Buffalo River. You can le...

August 22, 2017

I am a freelance artist, historian and event planner, focusing on emotional connection to place. And I have a problem.

Most of my art commissions and historical research contracts take place in the summer - the precious, short summer. I am grateful- as a freelancer, you take the work when it comes. However, I quickly get burnt out when the horizon appears to contain no free time for my own projects.


So, I have stolen a phrase from my friend Tara Sasiadek, a fellow freelance artist and a philosopher. When her husband notices she has not given herself enough time in the studio, he tells her "You're being put in Art Jail" and send her upstairs with some tea and lunch. He keeps an eye on the dog, or runs an errand for her, to make sure she isn't distracted by daily household stuff. (What a catch...

January 23, 2017

Buffalo is a vortex of coincidence. A number of random meetings of fellow, or former, Buffalonians all weekend at the Women's March on Washington reinforced this. Yesterday, on the drive home, I happened to stop at the same brewery in a small Pennsylvania town for dinner as a group of activists forming "Veterans Respond". We had a great conversation about the peaceful, non-partisan actions they've been working on.

It is clear that the work of Veterans Respond is in alignment with many other causes that showed solidarity at the March on Saturday. Signs and slogans representing all walks of life reminded us that we share many of the same needs and desires as human beings. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs illustrates this: starting with the most basic things like housing and food, all the way to sel...

August 23, 2016

Somehow, I got convinced that I should hide who I truly am. What a mistake.

A long, hot summer was a great opportunity for me to think, hard, about how I'd like my business to evolve, and how I want it to be perceived. When someone asks me what I do, I usually have several answers, but it almost always starts with "Artist". Then, I add, "Historian, Preservationist, Event Planner..." In recent years, nonprofit neighborhood groups and others have begun asking for my help- to share my expertise on how to bring artists in, or how to leverage creative events to draw attention to historic places. I was thrilled to be able to help in some small way.

Eventually, it dawned on me that THIS could be my future as a business- a Creative Consultant. I sought assistance from the Buffalo State College Small...

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