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Visiting BT&C Gallery

Gary Sczerbaniewicz: Beneath/Suspicion 2013

First Take

Artist Gary Sczerbaniewicz and gallery owner, Anna Kaplan

On the evening before Thanksgiving, I was searching for the BT&C Gallery, driving down the desolate and sparsely lit Niagara Street and heading to one of the areas in the city that is newly establishing itself as a destination for art, culture and beer. I felt welcomed into the brick post-industrial warehouse by the candles that were laid out marking the entrance. Upon entering the space, I was immediately transposed to a memory of an art opening I attended in Bushwick, Brooklyn at a warehouse converted to house art studios and galleries.

The BT&C Gallery was open late for a second informal opening/holiday homecoming of the group show, 75 x 12, Curated from the Flat Files. Delicious hors d’oeuvres and beer from Resurgence Brewing Co. were provided as one could peruse the work hanging, and socialize among the attendees. I got to spend some time with Gary Sczerbaniewicz, one of the artists in the current show, who is also represented by BT&C. Sczerbabuewicz is a local sculptor who graduated with his MFA from the University of Buffalo Visual Studies Department in 2013, and currently is an Adjunct Professor of Sculpture at Buffalo State University. In speaking about the arts community of Buffalo, Sczerbabuewicz said, “a city this size has a lot of talent, and that’s a good problem, it keeps you honest and working.” I just recently moved to the area, and I am struck by the caliber of art that I’ve seen, so I believe there is much truth to Gary’s sentiments, but this is also where the role that BT&C will play in the community becomes vital.

In a city such as Buffalo that is beginning to experience the revitalization efforts put forth by city government, developers and entrepreneurs, with property values soaring, and commercial interests escalating, Buffalonians can learn from its predecessors. Gallery owner Anna Kaplan’s vision for the gallery is to educate the arts-interested public, and cultivate a younger collector base through events such as her salon style artist talks. The gallery focuses on highlighting work by younger local artists that reveal a different aesthetic than what is currently accessible. Up to this point Nina Freudenheim has been at the helm of exhibiting art in a commercial context, successfully representing artists whose careers are already established, and furthering the careers of mid-range local artists. Her ambitions and dedication have deeply inspired the motive of Anna to open a gallery, “Buffalo should have 10 Nina’s, and I want to be one of them.”

Anna has an eye for potential, and a strategy to gain regional presence for local contemporary artists. By 2016, she plans to be attending the established art fairs in NYC and Miami, with a small roster of local talent. She will be adding artists to her flat file collections, but will maintain a short list of represented artists, so as to fully embrace their needs as professionals. In a city such as Buffalo, where growth and change is prevalent, BT&C will aim to fit the niche for these younger artists, laying the groundwork here, but setting the stage for a wider audience to take notice of the happenings in our backyard.

BT&C Gallery is open on Fridays from 12-5pm and on Saturdays from 12-4pm or you can call 716-604-6183 to make an appointment. The current show will be on view till December 20.

Tina Dillman was born and raised in Upstate NY (1979-1997), and returned to the area, in the summer of 2014, after receiving her MFA in New Genres, from the San Francisco Art Institute. She has recently moved to Buffalo, to establish an artist residency program out of her new home, on Buffalo’s West Side.

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