Main (St)udios: fresh downtown art collective
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • October 28, 2011 @ 11:48am
The romanticized image of an artist is a forlorn individual in tattered clothes, brilliant but alone, longing for social interaction or simply someone to recognize and appreciate creative genius. (Yeah, I read those art history textbooks too.) The truth, at least in Erica Eichelkraut’s new Main (St)udios (said “Main Street Studios”), is the polar opposite.
Opening with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m. tonight at 515 Main St., Main (St)udios is more art collective than it is isolated space. Featuring a downstairs gallery for resident artists to show and sell their work, a spacious upstairs common area to share ideas or hang out and individual studio spaces decked out with wireless internet and ample utilities, Main (St)udios is the ideal facility for an urban artist.
The reception will feature music from Funktional Flow, studio tours, an artists market (which doesn’t involve selling artists, fortunately), a photobooth, and food and wine. The event doubles as October’s version of WAM—writers, artists and musicians.
“Creative people feed off each other,” Eichelkraut said. “[These artists] won’t be behind a locked door or isolated at all—it will very much be a creative community.”
Speaking from her own experience, the owner of City Lights Photography gushes about the benefits of city art space.
“My studio had always been at home,” Eichelkraut explained, “and it’s so nice to have separation [now that she’s at Main (St)udios]. Trains out front and the people walking by lend an urban energy that makes it exciting to go to work.”
While there are some art spaces downtown—Big Orbit and Artspace, to name a few—there’s still a dearth of artistic vitality in the heart of the city, especially in the 500 block of Main Street. Typically, Allentown and Elmwood are viewed as Buffalo’s artistic hubs, especially First Fridays and gallery-hopping down Elmwood.
The 500 block of Main Street has slowly embarked on the path to revitalization—there are newly renovated buildings nearby and luxury suites being pieced together across the street—and the assistance of developer Roger Trettel and Mark Schroeder at Main Washington Exchange made Eichelkraut’s dream of an urban art space a reality.
“We want to help revitalize an area downtown and have an impact,” she said. “We see active change on the block and feel the energy—this will be a reason for people to come to Main Street after 5 p.m.” Stay after work to check out Eichelkraut’s reception on Oct. 28—it’s encouraging that people with ambition are actively improving the look of a beleaguered area.