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.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Saint Adalbert Basilica Celebrates 125th Anniversary

What might be the last regular Sunday mass at Saint Adalbert Basilica was held on Sunday, September 18, 2011 at the 125-years-strong East Side parish. Over 350 attended the 125th Anniversary celebration held afterwards. A typical Sunday mass brings well-over 100 parishioners. With these numbers, many out-of-town supporters and a well-kept religious campus that also provides some rental income, the Catholic Diocese's order to close the church makes little sense.

The 125th Anniversary Mass. Photo by Broadway-Fillmore Alive.
Painting for Preservation at the 125th Celebration.
Steve Siegel, photographer, showing his work.
The artists of Painting for Preservation gathered at the Basilica in mid-September and were warmly welcomed by the many parishioners with live music, homemade baked goods and roast beef sandwiches. We had twenty artists, many newcomers, and were profiled in The Buffalo News in "Preserving memories of St. Adalbert's."

Michelle Schroeder, art teacher,at the Art-In.
Photo by Charles Lewis for The Buffalo News.
Leaders of Saint Adalbert Basilica parish have developed a strong and creative campaign to urge Bishop Kmiec to have a change of heart and allow the Church to remain as active as it already is. The parish regularly uses social media and has a young and active crowd; this is not a dead or dying church! We thank the parish for having us celebrate with them. Our being there only reinforced the parish's innovative commitment to their community.

With an abandoned church on what seems like every block, Painting for Preservation as artists and preservationists, fully support Saint Adalbert Basilica's cause. Having just hosted an Art-In at St. Mary's-on-the-Hill at Niagara and Vermont Streets, the ruins are an only too real a reminder how quickly a center of life in the community can fall literally fall apart.

Please show your support of the parish by writing to the Diocese in support of the church. Our letter to the Diocese of Buffalo in support of Saint Adalbert Basilica and, in general, a comment on the faiths abandonment of so many of its architecturally significant buildings:
September 14, 2011
Dear Bishop Kmiec,

I write on behalf of Painting for Preservation to express our collective support of maintaining weekly masses at Saint Adalbert Basilica as a measure of sustaining a vital parish community and caring for a historic and recognized landmark Basilica.

Painting for Preservation is an eclectic and inclusive group of artists that gathers at historic places to create artwork of all media with the building as the subject. Our goals include raising awareness of neglected historic places, supporting artists that are inspired by architecture and community, and starting a creative record of these places.

We had the opportunity to gather at Saint Adalbert’s to caringly illustrate the architecture of the Basilica. Over 200 people attended the Mass that morning and nearly 25 artists took to the lawn, sidewalk and streets in pure admiration of the Basilica’s iconic towers. The reception by the parish was extremely hospitable and representational of the spirit the parish regularly shares with its members and larger community.

Based on the Vatican’s decree for Saint Adalbert’s to remain open and our personal experiences of the vitality of the parish, we cannot in good conscience allow the Church to be closed without statement. Furthermore, closing vital and solvent parishes will not aid in the Diocese’s current fiscal crisis, nor should the historic buildings be abandoned.

Meagan Baco, Co-Organizer
Painting for Preservation
The Art-In at Saint Adalbert Basilica was the last gathering planned by Painting for Preservation for the 2011 painting season. Please email P4Partist@gmail.com or post on our Facebook to suggest sites for next year.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

God Speed, Saint Adalbert Basilica Parish!

Saint Adalbert Basilica by Steve Seigel
Painting for Preservation joined the nearly 200 parishioners of Saint Adalbert Basilica in joyfully protesting the Catholic Diocese's order to close the Basilica for regular Sunday masses. Standing their ground since 2007, Saint Adalbert's is slated to close next Sunday. The Art-In gathered over 20 artists to join the parish in celebrating the life and future of the church. With that many dedicated and innovative people participating in their community - it becomes clear that Saint Adalbert Basilica should not be closed. 

The 125th Anniversary Celebration of the Basilica will take place on Sunday, September 18, beginning with a Mass at 3:00pm.  A nod to the parish's history and vitality, the Mass will feature music of the Chopin Signing Society and a reception will follow at Millennium Hotel in Cheektowaga. Much of the artwork created at the Art-In will also be on display at the celebration. All are welcome at the Mass! 

The Buffalo News covered the Art-In with several pictures and an article by Sandra Tan, "Preserving memories of St. Adalbert."

Working with the members of the parish led to an exceptional Art-In with music, food and more conversation than usual. Thank you to all parishioners for their hospitality during the Art-In last Sunday. In particular, the enthusiasm and efforts of Lori DiNero and Charlie Penasack of Saint Adalbert Basilica, and also Todd Kniasuk of Music is Art and Christopher Bird of Broadway-Fillmore Alive.

Collaborating with the parish and drawing positive attention to iconic towers of St. Adalbert Basilica is representational of the goal of Painting for Preservation. We seek to increase attention, illustrate aesthetics, and start a creative record of historic places in all stages of neglect, danger and uncertainty. 

Join us all on Facebook: Broadway-Fillmore Alive, Music is Art , Painting for Preservation, Saint Adalbert Basilica

Amanda Maciuba and Sam Stone by Steve Seigel

Kelly Jakiel by Steve Seigel

The Dedicated Parishioners of St. Adalbert

Parishioners Working on the Community Art Piece
Michelle Schroeder and Family by Amanda Maciuba
Meagan Baco and Family by Amanda Maciuba

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Logo by Michael Harmon

Painting for Preservation (P4P) will host its first show during the National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference in Buffalo, New York in October.

Two-dimensional entries relating to the themes of historic preservation, architecture, urban aesthetics, community or personal history in Western New York. All styles and interpretations are welcome. Submit by email to P4Partist@gmail.com by September 27.

The Private Opening for the show will be during reception of the National Preservation Conference on Wednesday, October 19, 2011. A Public Opening will happen soon after. The show will be juried by an independent voice if the number and size of submissions requires. There is no fee to enter but a 40% donation of any sales will go to help the renovation of the Statler Towers, a 1920's grand hotel, and our host.

P4P is a group of eclectic and inclusive artists and preservationists that gather at historic places to make art on-site. We create positive awareness of distressed and under-utilized buildings; we create a record of current building conditions through the artist's point of view; we spark new and innovative preservation opportunities. We are inspired by our historic urban environment.

For more information, read the full Call for Work. Please contact Sara Zak at P4Partist@gmail.com or at 716-228-4853.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Painting for Preservation is hosting our first exhibition in October 2011.  In a nutshell, we will accept 1 -3 two-dimensional entries (depending on size) relating to the themes of historic preservation, architecture, and/or community in Western New York; all styles welcome. Submission is by e-mail at P4Partist@gmail.com, and is due by September 27, 2011.  There is no fee to enter, but a 40% donation of any sales will go to help the renovation of the Statler Towers in Buffalo, NY.  The opening for the exhibit will be during reception the National Preservation Conference on October, 19th.  A public opening is still to be determined.  Exhibit will be juried by an independent juror if the submissions out size the space.

Please see the detailed Calls for Work at the right hand side of the screen for detailed information and submission guidelines.  If you don't have the ability to send a digital submission, please call me at 716-228-4853.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Art-In to Support St. Adalbert Basilica's fight to Stay Open

Painting for Preservation's last Art-In at the ruins of St. Mary’s on the Hill is an only too real example of an abandoned neighborhood landmark left to rot. Vacancy and perceived uselessness is the greatest cause of deterioration at a historic building. Maintenance is deferred, moisture infiltrates, pipes burst, and slowly the inside and the outside of the building peel apart. The forced stifling of activity at Saint Adalbert’s Basilica by the Bishop of Buffalo Most Rev. Edward U. Kmiec may eventually lead the massive church to a similar end - but not with the consent of this very active East Side parish that has remained open four years longer than expected.

Art-In at St. Adalbert Basilica
212 Stanislaus Street, 14212
Sun., September 11, 9:30am - 1pm
All artists, community and parish members welcome
RSVP on Facebook
Saint Adalbert Basilica parish was founded in 1886 as the second Polish parish in the city of Buffalo. In 1890 to1891, Huber and Company designed and built the Romanesque church standing today. At the time it was built, it was the largest church in Western New York and remains one of the largest. The Basilica features a massive main altar of Italian marble with seven independently carved statues elevating a golden crown. Of curiosity, a likeness of the Black Madonna enshrined at one of the side altars had the distinction of appearing in the 1901 Pan American Exhibition. In 1907, Pope Pius X authenticated a document spiritually marrying St. Adalbert to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, a distinction allowing the East Side Basilica to perform higher rites and host the Pope, if ever called to do so.
ca. 1910

ca. 2011

The parishioners of St. Adalbert’s and their many out-of-town supports are determined to defer the closing of the Church, again and again, since 2007 when Bishop Kmiec called for merging Saint Adalbert Basilica with Saint John Kanty, closing St. Adalbert permanently. Unlike some church closures, St. Adalbert is financially stable and has an active parish. On a Sunday in July, I stopped by and found generations of families conversing over the pews, children playing in the stained glass rainbows and church leaders of determination and innovation.
Most recently, active parishioners launched their own “What Would Jesus Do?" Campaign meant to cause reflection and hopefully, a reprieve by Bishop Kmiec. The parishioner’s passion to keep their church open was recognized by the Vatican and the church is in possession of a letter stating that that Saint Adalbert Basilica must remain open as a place of worship accessible to the faithful. A holy declaration that the Bishop is denying. 

Offering both exterior and interior access for artists, a leader of the congregation describes the trinity of art, preservation and faith as such:
“Preservation is innate to the human spirit and artistic expression gives voice to that which is precious and fills our souls. The Art-In at Saint Adalbert Basilica is a way to express in artistic form the hopes and longings of a family, a parish, a community, that forever calls Saint Adalbert Basilica home.”
Painting for Preservation will set up on Sunday, September 11, 2011 at St. Adalbert Basilica at 212 Stanislaus Street beginning at 9:30am and disbanding around 1pm. Artists, photographers, community members, East Side advocates and parishioners are welcome to participate and observe. The art work created at this Art-In will be on display at the celebration of St. Adalbert’s 125th Anniversary on Sunday, September 18, 2011 at Millennium Banquet Hall in Cheektowaga. 

* Thank you to Charlie Penasak and Lori DiNero for their writing this post and their enthusiastic participation in Painting for Preservation.