Historical Churches Exhibit
The Burchfield Nature and Art Center featured a collection of historical remembrances of West Seneca Churches in January 2015 in its gallery. At least nine local churches and the West Seneca Historical Society will exhibit pictures, historic documents, pamphlets, antique songbooks and Bibles, as well as a replica of the 1864 Fourteen Holy Helpers Church. The replica was built to scale by F. Joseph Chavanne Sr. from hand-carved wood bricks and shingles for the church’s diamond jubilee in 1939. The church originally served as a meeting room for the Ebenezer Society, the community’s first settlers.
2014 Photo Contest Winners & Exhibit
Six first, second and third place winners were chosen from entries by four experienced judges in the Burchfield Nature and Art Center’s 2014 Photography Contest. The prizes were awarded on Friday evening at the Center.
In the Youth category, “Here Kitty Kitty” by Matthew Domzalski took first place. In second was “Tree at Chimney Bluffs” by Leah Skierczynski, and third was claimed by Christian Lee for the colorful “Sunflower.”
The Black and White category awards gave Tom Wilczak first place for “Strike,” a dramatic shot of a lightning bolt, John Breen second place for “Hermann Park Reflecting Pool” and M.C. Shoemaker third place for “Sunlit Woodland.”
In the Digitally Altered class, John R. England took first place for “Color Explosion,” Erin Burke was awarded second place for “Reflection” and “Amherst State Park” by Melanie Chimento took third place.
The People, Places and Things category award winners are Cheryl Wilczak for “Eerie County Botanical Gardens” in first place, Michael Rejewski for “Attica Arcade Railroad” in second place and Karen Dwigun for a very happy looking “So Proud” in third place.
The judges awarded Ralph Cashdollar first place in Nature – Flora for “Flower of Bar Harbor,” Erin Burke second place for “Lily Pond” and Alexandra Zielinski third place for “Breath of Autumn,” a photo of a nature collage of colors.
The Nature – Fauna category winners are Jerry Olszewski, first place for the lovely “Hidden Fawn;” Tina M. Bidwell, second place for the elderly looking “Napping Squirrel;” and Patricia Jaramillo, third place for the nurturing “Home Sweet Home.”
The People's Choice winner was Ralph Cashdollar, selected from 165 votes.
West Seneca Art Society Fall Show - October 2014
The Burchfield Nature and Art Center welcomed the community to “Eventide,” during September 2014. The exhibit featured 23 paintings and drawings by artist Melissa Mance-Coniglio, who sensitively portrays the nature of birds at days’ end. Mance-Coniglio’s work was influenced by her late father, James Mance, Sr., whose mastery of waterfowl decoy carving taught her observation skills and a love of birds.
Works in Fiber
Works in Fiber captivated gallery guests with its uniqueness of the useful repurposed items on display in August 2014. All are the creations of two multi-talented local artists, Mary Fisher and Doreen Kelly.
Mary Fisher has created wall hangings, trellises and standing arrangements from tree trimmings and remains of garden items. Also of note are her felted wool dyed pictures, especially an alluring piece named Four Seasons inspired by a Charles E. Burchfield painting. Colorful baskets and bags created from spun plastic/resin bags and incorporated with other fibers enhance the cabinet display. Other striking additions to this dynamic exhibit are the artist’s woven decorative tapestries that were created using scrap material from altered prom dresses. These creations touch on the goldmine of whimsical items found in this engaging display.
The practicality of Doreen Kelly’s repurposed items are only matched by the comeliness in which she executes her craft. Her assortment of totes, dishtowels, belts, and shawls demonstrate to the viewer an intricate focus. Her wall hanging Countryside Reflections 1, fabricated from barn board brings one back to the simplicity of olden times. Kelly’s hand tooled leather tote highlights her talent. She spins and dyes fibers from a variety of animals, including household pets. Among them an outstanding delicately woven white shawl with a touch of pastel color created from various fibers, featuring hair from a Samoyed dog. Weaving looms in the exhibit create a visible guide to the process of weaving.
Artists from the Arts Work program at Autism Services, Inc. (ASI) held an exhibit in July 2014. ASI artists are given opportunities to express themselves to their communities through visual and performing arts. The program’s main objective is to help them find materials and methods that are suitable for creating their own art.
An acrylic and mixed media exhibit “Flow” by artist Susie Kelly Flatau was on display at the Burchfield Nature and Art Center during the month of June 2014.
The artist, working through a non-objective, intuitive process, brings life to the spirit and soul of her art. Susie Kelly Flatau explains that her work often begins with a single word, a fraction of a thought, the glimpse of an idea, and works its way along a continuum of color until it comes to the “aha moment” that speaks to the artist and viewer.
With past success as an educator, writer and designer-facilitator of creative ventures, she began pursuing her passion for abstract and non-objective painting in 2011. A self-taught, emerging artist, she usually follows a process that often revolves around the interplay of layering bold and dramatic colors after beginning with a representational sketch.
Preserving Nature: Beaded Beauties, Fancy Florals and Creative Creatures
The Native Roots Artists Guild, whose members come from all nations in the Iroquois Confederacy or Haudenosaunee, showcased an exhibit in the BNAC Gallery featuring paintings, photographs, jewelry, beaded accessories, carvings and more. All represent the gifts of nature in connection to the exhibit’s name. Each piece also represents the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederacy cultures.
Work of Lankes, Greenberg featured in nostalgic exhibit
Prints and woodcuts by Julius J. Lankes and photographs by Jerome Greenberg were on exhibit through April 2014. The late Lankes (1884-1960) is arguably the first woodcut artist of this country, and Greenberg has been recording history through black and white photos since the 1940s.
West Seneca Art Society Spring Show
The West Seneca Art Society featured art in a variety of media in March 2014.
Burchfield Woodcarvers Exhibit
The Burchfield Woodcarvers group meets regularly at the Burchfield Nature and Art Center and includes master carvers. All members create superior works of art from a variety of woods.
Their exhibit includes hand-carved decoys, replicas of carousel figures, fantasy faces, whimsical gnome homes, Bellamy style eagles and a chip carved clock. They exhibited their work in February 2014.
Historic Ebenezer Exhibit 2014
“Historic Ebenezer” celebrated the rich history of the Town of West Seneca, on display in January 2014.
Fall 2013 Photography Exhibit
A potpourri of more than 70 eye-catching images from the annual photography contest was on display through December 2013. Photos represented categories ranging from “People, Places and Things” to “Nature.”
Fall Art Show 2013
The West Seneca Art Society displayed its annual fall art show throughout October 2013.
'Spirit Within’ Exhibit
Local artist Judie Pufpaff displayed a diverse and exemplary selection of her artwork at the Burchfield Nature and Art Center through September 2013.
The Burchfield Nature and Art Center in August hosted ashow featuring the creative works of six local artists: six men who each posess the distinction of having graduated from the former Albright Art School, Buffalo’s post-secondary four-year program for burgeoning commercial artists. The Albright offered studio art instruction in fine and applied arts, accompanying lectures and teacher training.
In honor of their alma mater, they call themselves the Albrightmen, six students who attended the school concurrently (1955-1959). The show at the BNAC celebrated the anniversary of their graduation more than 50 years ago by offering a glimpse of their current work in this collaborative exhibit of diverse media.
The Abrightmen are, Ronald Coniglio, Thomas J. Dalbo, Thomas Aquinas Daly, Patrick J. Hayes, Richard Macakanja and Eugene A. Rogalski.
Thomas Wekenmann Retrospective
A retrospective exhibit of Thomas Rae Wekenmann’s art was on display during July 2013.
A native of Buffalo and a Marine Corps veteran, the late Wekenmann served in Vietnam during 1967-68, earning the Navy Achievement Medal. After his honorable discharge he resumed a career of designing store interiors and displays. In 1970 he created a mosaic tile mural for Glickenstein Jewelers located in the North Town Plaza. The mural depicted the story of the engagement ring and remained there for more than 20 years.Wekenmann’s caricatures covered the walls at the “Little Club” on Main Street in Buffalo, and one of his original pen and ink drawings hung in a place of honor at Manny’s Supper Club on Delaware Avenue. In 1972 he moved to California working as a graphic artist until opening his own graphics and design business in 1982. He participated in many art festivals and fairs in California, where his paintings were either commissioned or sold through art galleries around San Diego, Lake Tahoe and Sedona. Wekenmann passed away in November 1992.
'A Natural Style' by Dean Vigyikan
Dean Vigyikan’s nature-oriented fantasy impressions captured life-like beauty in June 2013. "Water Skimmers," a bronze sculpture of three woodland nymphs, can be imagined to be floating along the Buffalo Creek behind the Nature and Art Center. Other sculpted figures represented the artist’s superb craftsmanship in depicting the human form, whether in bronze or resin.
His art included a varied display of subjects: lovely models in repose, fairies with gossamer wings, dignified animals in their natural habitat, the thrills of rodeo competition, and majestic landscapes, all rendered in rich colors to dazzle and please the eye.
Exquisite paintings of wildlife included an impression of two curious foxes, "Summer Days"; a handsome portrait of two wolves, "Los Lobos"; and a lone crow, set against a background of blue sky and clouds,"Watcher of the Skies." Other zoological specimens included bison, birds and big cats, with the fur delineated so finely one can almost feel it. All these wildlife subjects seemed at home in the BNAC park setting.
Native American Art
May 2013 was a time of recognizing and celebrating our Native American Heritage at the BNAC. An exhibit of art of the Haudenosaunee, or People of the Longhouse, was on display in the gallery. The Native American artwork reflected the community, heritage and traditions of Native Roots Artists Guild (NRAG) members.
West Seneca Art Society Spring Art Show 2013
The West Seneca Art Society featured art by Western New York painters, sculptors and photographers in its Spring Art Show in April 2013.
Fiber Arts Show
The Fiber Arts Show ran through March 2013 and included quilts, needlework, lace, appliqué and other compositions of thread, yarn, textile and other fibers. Fiber arts communicate message, emotion or meaning beyond the literal materials used.
Seneca Lifeways exhibit
Traditional Seneca Lifeways, an exhibit depicting early Native American culture and everyday life was on display throughout February 2013. Western New York artist Brendalee Piccone’s watercolor and acrylic paintings and pencil drawings represent Seneca cultural items and their use in everyday life. Images of the Seneca longhouse, ceremonial implements and spiritual beliefs are subjects of Piccone’s artworks. Artifacts from the West Seneca Historical Society complemented her visual narrative by adding historic pictures and artifacts to enhance the exhibit.
The Burchfield Center, located on the site of the Buffalo Creek Reservation, once inhabited by the Seneca Nation, was an especially appropriate venue for this exhibit.
'Historic Gardenville' featured artifacts from town's past
The West Seneca Historical Society put together photographs and artifacts depicting the lifestyles, buildings and people who contributed to the history of Gardenville, an important location in the origins and development of the Town of West Seneca. The "Historic Gardenville" exhibit was on display throughout January 2013 and included a presentation by town historian Jim Pace (below).
West Seneca Art Society Fall Show
The West Seneca Art Society present its fall show featuring Western New York painters, sculptors and photographers throughout October 2012. See images from the show below.
Stanley Smigiera Retrospective
The work of a self-taught West Seneca artist was featured throughout September 2012. The Stanley Smigiera Retrospective contained "a little bit of everything," according to the artist, who has lived in West Seneca since 1951. Pieces in acrylic, oil, pencil and watercolor depicted a range of subjects. ome of Smigiera's artwork reflected his respect for the military, as he is a World War II veteran.
While Smigiera has no formal schooling in art, he started as a boy of 9 or 10 copying drawings from newspaper cartoons and continued to produce artworks from magazine pictures and photographs. Smigiera has painting and drawings hanging everywhere from Grand Central Station in NYC to Princeton University. Locally, his portrait of Pope John Paul can be found in a Buffalo catheral, and he designed the West Seneca Chamber of Commerce logo.
This exhibit showcased the work of a couple who contributed greatly to the art community in West Seneca. A Retrospective of Artworks of Edward Swanekamp and Rosemary Okoniewski Swanekamp was on display in August 2012. The Swanekamps are well remembered in the area, where Ed taught art for many years at the West Seneca high schools. Both Ed and Rosemary were prolific painters and members of the West Seneca Art Society, a group that was organized by Ed in the mid-1950s.
In May of 2010 the West Seneca Town Board proclaimed a reactivation of the West Seneca Art Society, naming Ed a posthumous honorary legacy member in remembrance of his important contributions to art and artists in West Seneca.
The show included an array of landscapes, seascapes, flowers and scenes inspired by nature. Viewers will enjoy artwork in a variety of media - watercolor, acrylic, oil, pencil and ink.
"A Resting Place"
Local artist Thomas Dalbo exhibited a one-man show at The Burchfield Nature and Art Center throughout June 2012.
Dalbo is a longtime West Seneca resident, former senior pastor of Winchester Community Church, member of the Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society and has been involved in the reorganization of the West Seneca Art Society. His works have been shown in many area galleries.
This show featured watercolors, pastels, pen and ink, acrylic and pencil with subjects ranging from landscapes and flowers to horses.
"They Are Creative" - Native American Artists
The Native Roots Artists Guild exhibited a variety of artwork in May and June 2012. The show, titled “They Are Creative – Art of the Haudensaunee,” showcased the creativity of the Haudenosaunee – “People of the Longhouse” - who reflect their world in paintings, beadwork, photography, cornhusk creations, basketry and other native arts.
The Native Roots Artists Guild maintains a network for Haudensaunee artists, perpetuates native culture and promotes community awareness and appreciation of native arts. Their artwork is a unique reflection of Native American heritage.
Fiber Arts Exhibit
Members of the Cross-Town Quilters and Friends of the Burchfield Nature and Art Center brought a multifaceted fiber arts exhibit to the Burchfield Center Gallery for public edification and enjoyment throughout March 2012.
Benes’ exhibit at Burchfield reflects on nature
My Vision…. An Eclectic Journey, an art exhibit by Veronica Benes, was displayed in February and March 2012. Benes' work features a variety of media, including oil, watercolor, ink, pencil, pastel, sepia and acrylic. Her work reflects her joy in nature and draws on her life-long experience as an artist and teacher.
"Historical West Seneca"
The beginning of a new year is a good time to reflect on the past, especially at the Burchfield Nature & Art Center in West Seneca. In January 2012 at the BNAC, the West Seneca Historical Society exhibited photographs and artifacts depicting the lifestyles, buildings and people who contributed to the history of the Town of West Seneca. The exhibit, “Historical West Seneca,” aimed to share significant information about the town’s past. Among the freestanding artifacts on display are a sewing machine, spinning wheel and “Ebenezer People.”
Charles Hunt Retrospective Woodcarvings (September 2011)
Below are images from a past show, "West Seneca Celebrates Art"
Photography by Anna Mrak:
Annual Fall Photography Contest entries were on display throughout December 2012. The show featured more than 120 photos.View the complete list of award recipients here.