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Finding a new footing at Buffalo Arts Studio

Earlier this month, I wrote a column about the forthcoming merger between CEPA Gallery and the smaller Big Orbit Gallery, both run by the tireless director and curator Sean Donaher. In the column, I stressed that other organizations could draw lessons and inspiration from the move, which struck me as a particularly wise marriage of resources and programming.

In the column, I singled out Buffalo Arts Studio, the excellent studio and gallery space founded by Joanna Angie in the early '90s. After Angie retired to pursue her art career in 2011, curator Cori Wolff stepped up to the artistic director position and Jeff Langridge took the reins as executive director. Shortly thereafter, though, Langridge departed, and Wolff found herself in the unenviable position of directing the entire organization.

At the same time, as BAS searches for a new economic model to sustain itself, Wolff has maintained the high quality of the organization's international exhibitions. This week, BAS opens a show featuring work by Andrzej Maciejewski and Lynn Richardson and it has mounted several compelling exhibitions since Angie's departure.

Even so, I thought it pertinent to use BAS as an example of an organization that finds itself searching out new footing in a new funding landscape. It wasn't my intention to paint a negative picture of BAS. Quite the contrary, I wanted to stress that its recent management shakeups provided the opportunity for the organization to seek out and forge new collaborative projects (if not outright mergers) with other groups.

In a recent conversation with Wolff, who was understandably concerned about her organization being painted as anything other than completely stable, I learned that the organization is doing just that. (Too early for details, though.)

She reassured me the organization is in good shape and is excited to puruse new ways of staying very much in the game. This is good news for one of Buffalo's most important visual arts organizations, and I look forward to writing about what comes next.

--Colin Dabkowski

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