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 27, 2012

Long Overdue Pics from the Black Rock Art In

Yep, I'm really far behind.  We held this well-publicized, well-attended art-in back in June! Here are some pictures of artists working.  We were joined by neighbors, Yoshi and Tykim; and the man whose family owned the gas station and second floor home up until the 80s dropped in to tell us about growing up there. Thank you to Doreen DeBoth and Artsphere for partnering up on this one with us!

Carol Siracuse

Dana Saylor

Russ working

Doreen DeBoth

Amanda Maciuba

Mickey Harmon

J. Stanely


Sara M. Zak

Gusto TV: http://blogs.buffalonews.com/gusto/2012/06/gustotv-painting-for-preservation.html 
Article link coming soon.  Thanks so much, Colin Dabkowski, for drawing attention to our initiative.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Black Rock Renaissance "Art-In"

June 23, 2011
9:30am  -1:00pm

We're heading out to celebrate Black Rock and all the amazing happenings on Amherst St. through on-site artmaking in collaboration with Artsphere Gallery . We're also taking a look at 481 Amherst which was built in 1923 by Valentine Homik who commissioned architect Karl Scmill to design it. Schmill was the same architect who designed Assumption Church and School. It was a Socony gas station from the outset, Standard Oil Company of New York, which then became Mobil. It was a Mobil station through 1981.  There are a lot of renovated buildings on the street, the fire hall being an amazing example of reuse!  This is a really good opportunity to take in one of our city streets as a whole. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Steve Siegel featured in B&W Magazine

Steve Siegel, 2011, Central Train Terminal 3
Exciting news -- Painting for Preservation photographer Steve Siegel had his portfolio chosen from over 800 submitted worldwide for inclusion in the current issue of B&W Fine Arts magazine. The link to his portfolio is: http://www.bandwmag.com/galleries/bw/contests/13/photographers/4329

To have an artist as intelligent and community-minded as Steve documenting the Painting for Preservation initiative is really amazing, and we're so happy for this much deserved success. I asked Steve to answer a few questions about his photography and why he does what he does...

Bio: Steve Siegel was born in Buffalo and has never left the area. He graduated from Buffalo State and U.B. He has been a professor at Niagara University for 35 years and was an adjunct professor at Canisius College. Steve purchased his first camera about 3 years ago and is self-taught. He finds that he really enjoys photography and its possibilities.

Steve Siegel, 2011, Bathroom Massacre
(Hotel Lafayette)

Sara: What inspires you to be a photographer?
Steve: I'm not a big fan of conformity - may it be from a sociological perspective or an aesthetic one. A camera allows me to document "life in the cracks" so to speak. It's reassuring to me to find people, through their range of emotional responses, as well as structures, through their design, that are unique.

Sara: What do you like/dislike about the photographic process?
Steve: I like the fact that photography has forced me to see the world around me in a much more detailed and complex manner. The title of a biography of the photographer Walker Evans is an apt description for my feelings, it is entitled "The Hungry Eye."

One thing that bothers me about the process of photography is that the power of editing software suggests that the legitimacy of any photo can now be called into question. One never really knows if what you see in a photograph truly existed in the photographers view finder. Was something added to the photograph or was it grossly manipulated? Perhaps something that might have changed ones emotional response to the photo was removed? Furthermore does the photographer have an ethical responsibility to reveal if the picture is "manipulated." Artists in most other media really don't face this dilemma. I personally would like to know to what extent a seemingly intriguing photograph was the product of a great capture through the lens at a given moment as opposed to manipulation in the digital darkroom.

Steve Siegel, 2011, Grain Elevator

Sara: What are your goals as an artist?
Steve: Simply to enjoy doing what I do. I marvel over the technology I work with, I enjoy the people I meet and occasionally I am satisfied with the finished product. If I am having fun doing it, I will want to do it more often and hopefully continue to improve. Luckily I don't need to make a living through photography, so I have no commercial constraints and can go my own way.

Sara: How does Buffalo influence your work?
Steve: The diversity of the city, both architecturally and culturally provides broad possibilities for a photographer. For instance, of my 12 pictures that are in the portfolio that B&W Magazine chose for their "Award of Merit," 8 were photographed at sites located between 1 and 5 miles from my apartment and the 3 that were featured in the magazine were taken in Buffalo at the Central Terminal (2) and at the Hotel Lafayette. In perusing the magazine, I noticed that few if any of the other United States based photographers chosen for the issue submitted pictures from their neighborhood (many submitted pictures from Europe and Asia). I think that this proves that Buffalo and WNY can provide great subject matter for an artist.

The 3 photos from the portfolio which appear in the actual print edition are currently on display at College Street Gallery.

Steve Siegel, 2011, Central Train Terminal 2

And here a few photographs Steve took while on-site at art-ins :

Monday, May 14, 2012

Art-In: Hook & Ladder #8 @ 174 Chicago Street

Make art!

With Painting for Preservation. We appreciate, render, and share art and stories about historic places. This building has an owner that is making minor repairs and is a location that can only get better near the new RiverFest Park.

Please bring your own materials. All media, skill, sensibilities welcome. More info at http://www.paintingforpreservation.org/.

Saturday, May 19, 2012
Anytime between 9:30am - 1pm
Hook & Ladder #8
174 Chicago Street

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bengal News

Great video from Buffalo State students Jacob Becker and Edward Mazzu at our 1st art in of the season.   Thanks to regular Painting for Preservation artists Liz Cazprski for speaking so eloquently about why we do what we do!

Bengal News

Monday, April 23, 2012

Art-In at 53 Laurel St @ Michigan Ave

This is a classic Painting for Preservation event.

Saturday, April 28
53 Laurel Street

We invite you to join this group of artists and preservationists to make art on-site at a simple and overlooked but beautiful and preservation-ready historic building. This one is very unique in Buffalo.

We believe that the building is vacant and has an out-of-state owner. The collaborative urban farm Farmers & Builders has looked into purchasing the property. We support their acquisition of the building, if possible.

Make art of the building in any media you choose, paint, pastel, photographs. Artists of all media and skill level are welcome. You are also invited to just talk about the building and observe the artists.

The building at 53 Laurel dates to ca. 1907 and is a carefully designed brick and stone double residence. Laurel Street is an intact street with lively and responsible residents, looked just off the Michigan Street corridor.

Please RSVP on Facebook and share this event. Contact us at info@paintingforpreservation.org for details.

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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.

Fiddler Leslie Nickerson playing Civil War-Era Songs

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.

Stay connected:
Homes near the Peace Bridge - https://www.facebook.com/homesnearthepeacebridge?ref=ts
Move the Plaza - http://www.movetheplaza.com/currentmap.html

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Art-In at Wilkeson House in Peace Bridge Demo Area On March 31st

The first Art-In of 2012 is at the Colonel Wilkeson house at 771 Busti Avenue on Saturday, March 31 from 9:30am to 1pm.

RSVP on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/257426147677667/.

Make art on-site at the locally landmarked Wilkeson House at 771 Busti Avenue in the Prospect Hill neighborhood near the Peace Bridge. Demolition of the building by the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority (PBA), in defiance of its landmark status, is imminent.... All seven homes on Busti owned by the PBA since 1995, including the 1863 Col. S. H. Wilkeson house, will be demolished for an expanded truck plaza, and adjacent 12 acre Duty Free Store.

The Columbus Park neighborhood inside of the Prospect Hill Historic District, has been fighting for 23 years to hold the line because 4,000 diesel trucks a day already pass by their homes. Environmental and health concerns impacting more than 22,000 West Side residents have been linked directly to the toxins in diesel exhaust.

The PBA doesn’t deny polluting the air but uses their bi-national status to protect themselves against most levels of government accountability. Without accountability, the PBA continues to wreck lives and neighborhoods.

The PBA is tax exempt so it internalizes all the revenue it generates. But tax-payers will fund their expanded facilities including the new Duty Free Store while Prospect Hill pays with the market value of their homes, their quality of life and their health.

More about the demolition plans: http://www.buffalorising.com/2012/03/pbas-busti-properties-move-em-or-theyll-remove-em.html. Connect with the neighborhood: https://www.facebook.com/homesnearthepeacebridge and http://www.movetheplaza.com/currentmap.html. See a great documentary here: http://vimeo.com/34624466.

By coming to this event you will join artists and preservationists to support a strong-minded community in their right to shape their own space.

Artists of all media and skill are welcome, as are onlookers and others who want to share their stories of the space. We regularly have sketchers, painters, photographers and print-makers. Please bring your own materials or just come to watch the artists and enjoy the building.

Painting for Preservation gathers at distressed and endangered historic places to bring creative attention and admiration to them. For more information, see; http://www.paintingforpreservation.org/ or contact Sara at info@paintingforpreservation.org.

Art contains within it the possibility to change perceptions. With Painting for Preservation, the art is both the collaboration and onsite presence of voices at an endangered location along with the creation of individual artworks inspired by the experience. Painting for Preservation works in collaboration with many local organizations and grassroots efforts to stop needless demolitions, demo-by-neglect, and promote preservation.

We support the Columbus Park/Prospect Hill Neighborhood and the Buffalo West Side Environmental Defense Fund, and all their activists/volunteers/supporters.

Learn more about the Peace Bridge neighborhood here from the following short documentary created with assistance from Squeaky Wheel.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Statler Exhibit Photos from Long Ago

I realize that this show is long over, but I wanted to post a few pictures.  I really appreciate all the artists that participated in this show, the donations to make it possible, the Statler, and Preservation Buffalo Niagara.  The show was quite successful with hundreds of interested conference goers appreciating both the art and the buildings depicted and then at a second large local opening hosted with Preservation Buffalo Niagara.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bernice Smith featured in Buffalo News

Bernice Smith, a frequent Painting for Preservation artist, was recently featured in the Home and Style section of the Buffalo News. 

Bernie's paintings capture the vibrancy of the distressed places Painting for Preservation has visited.  She painted at The Old Blacksmith's Shop, Harris Hardware, and Central Terminal with us in 2011.  It's easy to see in this interview that Bernie loves color, liveliness, and activity.  It's so important to have artists like Bernie recognize and translate the beauty of neglected spaces in art.  Her depictions give us a new interpretation of beautiful places so many ignore.  To read the article about her home and personal style, click here.

Bernice Smith's Paintings from Art In at Central Terminal... (yes she really did do TWO in only 4 hours!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WNY Heritage highlights P4P in Endnotes of Heritage Magazine

Painting for Preservation recently occupied the back page of WNY Heritage Magazine, our region's distinguished history and preservation periodical. Sara Zak and Meagan Baco were interviewed by new Junior Editor, Matthew Biddle, for their newly created "Endnotes" section, most definitely saving the best for last.

Personally, I enjoy the quips and infographics that typically show up on the back pages of magazines, and I really enjoyed, "Creating a Legacy with Painting for Preservation." Some of the story is reproduced below, but we encourage you to purchase the Winter 2012 volume of WNY Heritage and/or subscribe for the whole year!

"With artists, you have an untapped group of people who really are preservationists...they want to see their communities thrive and they're invested in the arts." - Sara M. Zak
"Even as a preservationist, I'm on the clock...I don't often go, sit and look at a building for five hours. It's a whole different level of understanding." - Meagan Baco
Thank you to Matthew Biddle for the thoughtful interviews and great resulting story, and thanks Steve Siegel for donating a photograph for publication. One of Sara's paintings of Saint Adalbert Basilica and it's neighborhood was published, too.