Center for the Study of Art, Architecture, History and Nature

C-SAAHN -  Est. 2009 as a unique digital enterprise and network designed to help link volunteers and lifelong learning communities as part of the

"Buffalo-Chautauqua Idea: Exploring American Legacy"

Dennis Galucki, Founder & Coordinator

A New Year's Reflection For 2012

"Buffalo Niagara: Bi-National Cultural Center"

by Dennis Galucki

"Appreciating our past helps us imagine our future."

That was the central theme of the December 27, 2011 C-SAAHN announcement at the conclusion of the two-year downtown Buffalo & Erie County Central Library C-SAAHN Noon-Hour Lecture Series themed, "IMAGINE Buffalo Niagara in the 21st Century."

In this series, fifty Tuesday lectures were created and sponsored by The Center for the Study of Art, Architecture, History, & Nature (C-SAAHN). Various sub-themes around the question "Why...?" were also created. For instance, the September - December 2011 'IMAGINE' Series focused on the question, "Why Does Preservation Matter?" This Fall Series was designed around the 2011 National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference at Buffalo, NY last October. The National Trust for Historic Preservation's theme and statement became, "This Place Matters."

C-SAAHN believes "This Place Matters" best answers the recent C-SAAHN lecture series question, "Why Does Preservation Matter?"

"Why Does Preservation Matter?" Because,"This Place Matters!"

Fifty community leaders from the not-for-profit cultural sector and the for-profit private sector, along with the governmental public sector; media; foundations; K-12, college, and university educational facilities all imagined the future of the region. Their presentations were digitally recorded and archived on the internet for all to hear as part of the C-SAAHN AUDIO Catalog & Network. Our summary of this two year series is that Buffalo Niagara is especially rich and wealthy based on it's cultural legacies, built and natural, located in the region, especially those focused on art, architecture, history, and nature.

This observation leads us to the next two new 'IMAGINE' Series for 2012.

The series on the 2nd & 4th Tuesdays of the month will be titled "IMAGINE Buffalo Niagara as a Bi-National Cultural Center" and ask the question "Why Does History and/or Nature Matter?"

We defined the Buffalo Niagara geographic area around the north-south Niagara River axis, east to Lockport and East Aurora, NY and west to St. Catherines, Canada, and the Welland Canal. The spirit of this series is rooted in imagining Buffalo's experience with hosting the 1901 Pan-American Exposition as the cultural center of the Americas - North, Central and South America. One-hundred and ten years later, as a uniquely positioned geographic area and with it's rich cultural heritage, Buffalo Niagara has the opportunity to brand itself the "Bi-National Cultural Center" today!

Both 'Buffalo' and 'Niagara' are established brands. This lecture series is designed to help the potential "Buffalo Niagara: Bi-National Cultural Center" branding process that C-SAAHN is recommending be considered.


The second new C-SAAHN Noon-Hour Lecture Series is "IMAGINE The Arts as a 2nd Language" on the 1st, 3rd, and occasional 5th Tuesdays, and will ask the question, "Why Do The Arts Matter?"

This lecture series theme also traces it's roots to 1901, the year the Buffalo Savings Bank - now M&T Bank, Fountain Plaza - was completed. The interior art work, however, was not completed until 1927. On one of the four pendentives, or triangular dome supports, is a painting called "The Arts" (see above).

From "An Architectural Profile: 1898 - 1998" published by M&T Bank, is the description of this (14 foot high and at the top, 22 foot wide) painting on the southwest pendentive above the main entrance. The publication states the following:
 "The Arts"

"The beautiful north section of the city which includes Delaware Park Lake and its environs forms the basis for this painting. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the more prominent streets and parkways are readily recognizable. In the lower left portion of the picture, immediately above the compass, four buildings devoted to the Arts and Sciences have been included - State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, and Buffalo Museum of Science. On the upper left is a figure representing dance, painting and sculpture, while on the right is a figure symbolic of literature and music."

 The Pan-American Flag

Finally, the Pan-American Flag was used as the unifying symbol for both 2012 C-SAAHN lecture series. From the description of the Flag provided by the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society for the centennial celebration of the Pan-American Exposition, the meaning of the Flag, as described in 1901, is as follows :

"The large White Star, on the blue field, represents the North Star and the cold northern climate. The four small stars on the red field mean the Southern Cross conventionalized. The White bar, on which the Eagle rests with fully spread wings, is meant for the bond of unity; thus the Red, White and Blue, the colors which are used by almost all Republics, are utilized."

"The Eagle, the lofty "Bird of Liberty," holds in its talons the ribbon on which is written "PAX" (Latin word for Peace) and "1901," giving the state of feeling of the different count(r)ies of this Hemisphere at that date. The points around his head represent the sun as one of the oldest emblems used on any flag on this Hemisphere. The Palm and Pine branches, which cross the ribbon, represent the North and the South; thus we get the Red, White and Blue, the colors of Republicanism, and the Green and Yellow, which occur in so many of the southern flags."


All these words are incorporated in the artistic image of the Pan-American Flag and why, C-SAAHN believes, it is the best symbol for both the "IMAGINE Buffalo Niagara as a Bi-National Cultural Center" and "IMAGINE The Arts as a 2nd Language" lecture series at the Buffalo & Erie County Central Library every Tuesday during the noon-hour in 2012.

Center for the Study of Art, Architecture, History and Nature