Center for the Study of Art, Architecture, History and Nature
Dennis Galucki, Founder
Chuck LaChiusa, Webmaster
The following interview was given with Dennis Galucki,
Founder, Center for the Study of Art, Architecture, History & Nature
by Buffalo Rising, March, 2010.
Hopefully, it is helpful in better understanding the Buffalo-Chautauqua Idea.
BR. When did the "idea" for the Center for the Study of Art, Architecture, History and Nature come about?
DG. The "idea" evolved when I became a docent, primarily leading school tours, for Frank Lloyd Wright's, Darwin Martin House & Complex for over the past dozen years. It became clear that the truth and beauty of the site were rooted in appreciating the combination of art, architecture, history and nature.The idea was reinforced as a docent for other groups like the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Miss Buffalo Harbor Cruise, Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier (now Preservation Buffalo Niagara - Buffalo Tours,) and the Arts in Education Architecture Tours. If the truth and beauty of a site or work of art is rooted in the combination of art, architecture, history, and nature, then what if the larger community explored that combination in designing its future?
In the summer of 2006 and again in 2007, along with webmaster, Chuck LaChiusa, we presented a Special Studies course at Chautauqua Institution entitled, "Imagining Buffalo in the 21st Century - the Buffalo-Chautauqua Idea."
Why Chautauqua Institution? Because, on every ticket and marketing brochure it proclaims that it is rooted in the pillars of art, education, religion and recreation,
and has developed a world-wide reputation as a lifelong learning center for over 135 years based on these pillars. If the idea woks in Chautauqua, why not Buffalo or elsewhere with different, yet somewhat similar, pillars?
Further, what if communities saw themselves linked with Chautauqua Institution? When you combine both sets of pillars, one becomes central - art.
When you realize that the primary definition of art points to creativity, and our city's and country's strongest attribute in the past has been creativity, why not emphasize and build upon that pillar for our city and region's future?
There is also precedence for this idea of pillars, usually four pillars, in Buffalo.
-- the four statues on top of Old County Hall (1876) representing Mechanical Arts, Justice, Agriculture and Commerce.
-- the four pendentives supporting the gold dome (1927) in the interior of the Buffalo Savings Bank (1901 - now M&T Bank at Fountain Plaza) have paintings depicting The Arts, Power, Commerce and Industry. ("The Arts" is the referenced logo for the Center, C-SAAHN).
-- the former Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier (now Preservation Buffalo Niagara) included in its vision and goals, "To encourage other organizations - public, private and not-for-profit - to view Buffalo and the Niagara region as an international destination for art, architecture, history, and nature."
-- another preservation group is called the Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture, and Culture.
-- for the past few years, the Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitors Bureau has stated that this region would be promoted around art, architecture, history, and culture.
-- Chuck La Chiusa's well regarded worldwide website is Buffalo Architecture and History. The Center (C-SAAHN) is on his home page.
The idea of the Center (C-SAAHN) is to help focus the community on the value of lifelong learning, by linking all organizations involved in the lifelong learning process, especially in the combination of art, architecture, history and nature, as a creative force. These organizations include all schools, K-12 and beyond, research and wellness centers, libraries, cultural institutions, and other not-for-profits and the volunteers, patrons and financial supporters of them all. The Center is, in effect, pointing to a visioning process that respects our past and, hopefully, will help shape our future.
BR In what ways are you actively trying to promote and carry out the eight ideas listed on the website, as well as the visions and goals of C-SAAHN?
DG. The eight ideas are being discussed when the opportunity arises. The importance of the lecture/discussion series is to create the network of individuals and
organizations to help make the ideas happen. I am optimistic that they will happen - in time. The fact that so many leaders of organizations said "yes" to the invitation to speak and all have attracted large audiences, is the source of my optimism. Indeed, we decided to expanded the series from the 2nd Tuesday of the month to the 2nd and 4th Tuesday starting in March. Also, the 2010-2011 Library Lecture/Discussion Series is currently being planned. To accommodate larger audiences we will also start using "The Ring of Knowledge" area near Fables Cafe because it is larger than the conference room used in the past. This interview itself is a step in the process of bringing the ideas to fruition.
Page by Chuck LaChiusa in 2009
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