Our ambitious proposal with Buffalo State College and its Community Academic Center, Buffalo Public Schools, and the City of Buffalo was successful. The NEA awarded us a $75,000 grant, which made a major commitment to Buffalo’s West Side Community. We worked with the students at Lafayette High School, International School #45 and in after-school programs. Over the course of the 2012 – 2013 school year, Young Audiences teaching artists and Buffalo State College faculty worked with students and their families to gather the stories of West Sides “global village” during this project we have titled, “Grant Street Global Voices.” These stories were then brought together in a massive mural executed under the direction of artist Augustina Droze.
The 2014 NEA grant will support the Ferry Street Corridor Project, which will help foster ties across historically divided neighborhoods through public art and storytelling. Ferry Street will, through a strategic program of work with artists, be transformed into a true corridor of brotherhood. Friends of Buffalo Story and Young Audiences of Western New York will work with local artists arts organizations, and community participants to uncover communal stories and strengthen ties across two neighborhoods, resulting in collaborative works of art to be shared throughout the year. A culminating event featuring the works of art will happen across the Corridor in multiple sites. Additional partners include The WASH Project, The Anne Frank Project, African American Cultural Center, Emerging Leaders in the Arts Buffalo, Ujima Theatre Company, and participating Buffalo Public Schools. The two neighborhoods that will be included – the West Side and the East Side – have more than 40% of their families living below the poverty line.