Welcome to Painting for Preservation!

Welcome to Painting for Preservation! This initiative, founded by artist Sara M. Zak, is aimed at drawing attention to distressed, at-risk, and under-utilized historic locations through on site art making.

Mission: To bring together artists of all media in support of historic distressed properties and communities. To create artwork on-site related to the location as a means of raising positive awareness of the space.


My hope is that we can continue this effort in Buffalo and expand the concept to other architecturally rich cities. Please e-mail Sara M. Zak if you are interested in starting a Painting for Preservation initiative in your city at info@paintingforpreservation.org

Our goals:

1. Raise awareness of at-risk, distressed and under-utilized locations and their neighborhoods


2. Create a record of historically rich locations through art

3. Create a community of artists invested in the urban landscape

4. Bring exposure and provide assistance to artists interested in documenting at-risk historic neighborhoods while also collaborating with members of those same neighborhoods.

5. Involve communities in sharing their stories of local historic architectural and their neighborhoods.




Monday, April 16, 2012

Hold the Line: Recap of Wilkeson House Art-In and Public Meeting

We made art and learned a lot at the Art-In at the Wilkeson House on Saturday, March 31, 2012. We learned how to answer these questions and comment accurately and effectively:
Sketch by Sara M. Zak

Sara Zak, Sam Stone, Amanda Maciuba, Liz Cazpski. Photo by Steve Siegel.


Person #1: Residents can't complain about the bridge traffic, pollution, demolition, because they knew they were buying a house near the Peace Bridge...

Painting for Preservation: The houses were there first, the Wilkeson House (ca. 1863) is older than the majority of the City of Buffalo! It and it's neighborhood houses predate the Peace Bridge (ca. 1929) by over 50 years. Some of the residents in the Columbus Parkway area are fifth- and sixth-generation  homeowners. At the time these homes were built, they were on Prospect Hill over looking Olmsted's Front Park to the Niagara River. Today some of them stare at the blue roof of the Duty Free shop, the only blue they'll see because of obstructions to the view of the Niagara River.

Mickey Harmon

Person #2: No one wants these buildings, tear 'em down...

Painting for Preservation: When the PBA bought the Wilkeson House it was already vacant, but that could have more to do with it's already obstructed view than anything else. Also, there are people currently living in a historic house immediately adjacent to the Wilkeson House, showing that people do and want to live in that neighborhood.



People do want to preserve the Wilkeson House and their may be a buyer out there too, but the current offer of the PBA to give the house to a willing party is nearly impossible because of the stipulations, like needing a $10k deposit and having to move the brick house before June to another piece of land.
Tim Raymond

Meagan Baco
Person #3: Preservationists are obstructing economic development, again. Buffalo needs the income from the trucks coming across the Peace Bridge...

Painting for Preservation: As the following recap will detail, there are no plans beyond demolishing the buildings put forth by the Public Bridge Authority. The public and even immediately adjacent residents do not know what the final plan that may be proposed, so NO ONE can know what the economic impact will be.

It has been researched that only 2% of trucks coming over the Peace Bridge stop in Buffalo. Over 98% continue on South for an average of 500 miles. More trucks does not mean more money for Buffalo - it may mean more tolls for the PBA, but we don't know that either because they don't have to share their finances even though their operation is partially funded by taxpayer dollars.

Lastly, there is no denying that passenger traffic over the bridge would be greatly facilitation by removing truck traffic off of the Peace Bridge to an area that can handle their size and number.



video

Fiddler Leslie Nickerson playing Civil War-Era Songs
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The week after the Art-In the Public Bridge Authority held a public meeting on April 4, 2012. This is a recap from Jason Wilson of Buffalo's Young Preservationists who attended;

It was less of a public meeting and more of an empty basement room with PBA officials outnumbering citizens 6-1. By scheduling the meeting over 5 hours, the PBA avoided having any large number of citizens there at one time, so you kinda got a feeling of being outnumbered. There were no speakers, only a series of tables and poster-boards lining the parameter of the room.

All of the information on display was strictly related to the demolition of the properties on Busti. No future expansion plans were on display or ever talked about. When asked, PBA officials said that future expansion plans were still in the conceptual stage.
When asked why the PBA would demolition those properties before they had a plan in place, the answer was that it was always the PBA intention to teardown the properties.

Images on display show no plans for the site, just demolition.

I then asked about the local landmark designation of the Wilkeson House and how the PBA could violate the protections provided it by the City's charter. Matt Davison, PBA Director of Communications stated that demolishing the Wilkeson does not violate preservation law because it was not landmarked at the time the time it was purchased by the PBA. Review of the City of Buffalo law that gives the Preservation Board power to landmark buildings shows that this is completely incorrect.

After that, I spoke with Kerry Traynor, an architectural historian and a UB faculty member, who is contracted to document the building, but not to the standards of the Historic American Building Survey. There is no additional information about this aspect of the PBA project.
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Stay connected:
Homes near the Peace Bridge - https://www.facebook.com/homesnearthepeacebridge?ref=ts
Move the Plaza - http://www.movetheplaza.com/currentmap.html

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