Buffalo Bucket List No. 18-19: Culture in the Queen City

The Buffalo Bucket List is a series of articles highlighting my journey to achieve the full college experience in Buffalo, from Buffalo wings to Oozefest.

Buffalo may not have Broadway or the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find culture in the Queen City. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo provide entertainment for the classier among us.

No. 18: Visit the Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Most major cities have a world-class art gallery and Buffalo is no exception. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is a cultural center for the city.

Located at 1285 Elmwood Ave. between Delaware Park and Buffalo State College, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery is over 100 years old and features paintings from Vincent van Gogh, Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo and others as well as many modern sculptures and pictures. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day with the exception of Monday, when the gallery is closed.

The view of the gallery itself is impressive. The building is built with massive pillars and features various outdoor sculptures. The surrounding Delaware Park area is beautiful and worth checking out itself.

Albright-Knox hosts various events and featured exhibits. For example, this Saturday the Instant Composers Pool Orchestra, a Dutch improvisational jazz group, will be playing in the auditorium in the gallery. Next week, the gallery will be hosting an exhibit titled “Overtime: The Art of Work,” showing paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs and videos.

As a cultural center, the “Music is Art” festival in autumn is held right behind Albright-Knox, with one stage set up right on the steps of the building.

As The Spectrum reported in January, Albright-Knox is planning on expanding. The gallery can only show around three percent, roughly 200 pieces, of its more than 6,700 works of art. With so much art in abundance, the Alright-Knox has something new to show every time you visit.

Admission is $8 for students and $12 for adults. Albright-Knox is open late and has free admission on the first Friday of every month.

With so much art available locally and for cheap, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery remains a treasured part of the culture of Buffalo.

No. 19: Visit Shea’s Performing Arts Center

The Buffalo Theater District brings Broadway plays to downtown Buffalo. Shea’s Performing Arts Center is the most famous theater in the district and features shows such as Newsies, Annie and The Book of Mormon as well as performances from Blue Man Group and John Mellencamp.

Shea’s was originally designed as a movie theater to show silent movies in the 1920s and was later redesigned as a performing arts theater. The theater is one of the only in the country to still have an organ.

“Shea’s Performing Arts Center is a staple of the Buffalo Theater District and is an important historical site of downtown Buffalo,” said Isabelle Caneda, a business administration and computer science major interning at Shea’s. “Thanks to its continued efforts in promoting the arts, Buffalo’s downtown area has experienced a revival in culture. In fact, the entirety of the Theater District is a pretty spectacular New York City surrogate complete with restaurants, art galleries, a soy candle shop and hipsters.”

Caneda said seeing a show at Shea’s is actually a better experience than on Broadway. The crowds are less rude and many of the people are working “5,000 times harder” on stage because members of the touring groups are often trying to impress to get to Broadway.

While Buffalo may not be equal to New York City, London or Paris, it is a city filled with culture. You just have to be willing to go find it.

Daniel McKeon is a features editor and can be contacted at daniel.mckeon@ubspectrum.com