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Ouch. It’s been a tough year in Buffalo, what with the whole Albright-Knox debate and the trouble at Studio Arena—both covered in painful detail in the pages of this publication—yet the arts are still thriving in both the established and grassroots arenas. Theater is a hot topic once more (read Tony Chase’s articles in this and last week’s issue of Artvoice), and “deaccession” is a term people are actually using. The city has seen impressive mixed-media shows in the past year, like the extravagant, multi-gallery Beyond/In Western New York, which showcased local artists, and traveling exhibitions like Jennifer Steinkamp’s new media showcase currently on view at the Albright. Cool stuff. Cutting edge. But the votes reflect a loyalty to the tried and true as well as the new and unknown. We see the same veteran artists on the list each year, but in the realm of spoken word and “genre-defying” performers, and in film and video arts, well…it’s a whole new world—or city—out there.

k. o’day

Top-five vote getters, listed in no particular order. Photos by Rose Mattery
Best Actor
Paul Todaro
Vincent O’Neill
Christian Brandjes
Louis Colaiacovo
Marc Sacco

Best Actress
Lisa Ludwig
Leah Russo
Mary Kate O’Connell
Lorraine O’Donnell
Josephine Hogan

Best Cinema
North Park
Market Arcade
Regal Elmwood

Best Cultural Asset
Albright-Knox Art Gallery
UB Center for the Arts

Best Dance Company
Configuration Dance
Zodiaque Dance
Buffalo Contemporary Dance
Rince na Tiarna
Lehrer Dance

Best Dancer
Aaron Piepszny
Fiona Dargan
Amy Taravella
Michelle Gigante
Joe Cipolla

Best Genre-defying artist
Aaron Piepszny
Soundpainiting Ensemble
Mark Freeland (in memoriam)
Chris Stangler
Kendall Kelly

Best New Arts/Performance Space
ALT Theatre
New Burchfield-Penney
Guerilla Gallery

Best Painter
AJ Fries
Greg Sobczak
Mary Begley
Rob Lynch

Best Photographer
Jim Bush
Mark Dellas
Bob Mussell
Jim Breidenstein
Ron Douglas

Best Playwright
Jon Elston
Manny Fried
Gary Earl Ross
Annette Daniels Taylor
Matthew LaChiusa

Gary Earl Moss (Best Writer Nominee)

Best Spoken Word Venue/Series
Allen Street Hardware
EM Tea Coffee Cup Cafe
Rust Belt Books
The Screening Room
Nickel City Poetry Slam

Best Poet/Spoken Word Artist
Celia White
Pat Cain
Matthew Baker Thompson
Verneice Turner
Liz Mariani

Lisa Ludwig (Best Actress Nominee)

Best Sculptor
David Derner
Eric Kanner
Brett Coppins
Rodney Taylor
Julie Silver

Best Small Art Gallery
Big Orbit
Guerilla Gallery
College Street Gallery

Best Supporter of the Arts
M&T Bank
Ani DiFranco
Robby Takac
Oshei Foundation

Aaron Piepszny (Best Dancer Nominee)

Best Theater Company
Irish Classical
Buffalo United Artists
Theatre of Youth
Studio Arena

Best Theater Production
To Kill a Mockingbird
Bat Boy
Servant of Two Masters
Twelve Angry Men
Axeman’s Jazz

Best Video or Film Artist
Brian Milbrand
Jax Deluca
Marc Odien
Richard Wicka
Andrew Michalski

Best Writer
Gary Earl Moss
Robert E. Wilczak
Jon Elston
Mark Goldman
Ron Ehmke