The Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University announces the opening of two new folk arts exhibitions focusing on the cultural lives of Western New York's ethnic communities. "(Almost) Too Good to Eat: Marking Life Transitions with Food" and "Newcomers: Transitions to New Lives" will be on display from July 14 through Dec. 8.
An opening reception for both exhibitions is set for Sunday, July 28, from 2 until 4 p.m., and will include live music and a selection of ethnic foods to taste.
Folk Arts Curator Carrie Hertz explains, " '(Almost) Too Good to Eat' demonstrates some of the cross-cultural ways that food nourishes not just our bodies, but also our social and spiritual lives, feeding our human needs for comfort and communion."
Focusing on a sampling of local ritual food traditions connected to transitional moments - from daily acts of prayer and hospitality, to the singular experience of migration - this exhibition explores the universal role of food as a mediator within human, spiritual, spatial and temporal relationships. The exhibition is sponsored, in part, by Melanie's Sweets Unlimited of Buffalo's Broadway Market and Muscoreil's Fine Desserts and Gourmet Cakes of North Tonawanda.
"Newcomers: Transitions to New Lives" showcases the faces of Buffalo's newest residents, many arriving from countries such as Burma, Somalia and Bhutan. Taken by photographer and English as Second Language teacher Lukia Costello, this series of portraits reveals lives in transition, and illustrates the resilience of people creating new homes.
Costello's award-winning work has been published locally and nationally, and has shown throughout Western New York, Brooklyn, Northern California, Connecticut and Montreal. It has been published in several publications, including The Los Angeles Journal, Buffalo Spree, Buffalo News and Artvoice.
The folk arts program of the Castellani Art Museum collaborates with local communities in preserving and presenting their traditional arts. In partnership with Western New York artists and community consultants, the folk arts program produces exhibitions, publications, artist demonstrations and performances that bring folk arts to a wider audience. Ongoing ethnographic research also forms the basis of a permanent archive of regional folk arts documentation.
These exhibitions and related programming are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
The Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University is open Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, from 1-5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, contact Hertz, curator of folk arts at 716-286-8290.