The Foundry: Bid to Build
Bid to Build seeks to fortify the Foundry's building; the organization already has a foothold as an important incubator for artists and innovators
In the 12,000 square foot space of its event center, the Foundry—an incubator for entrepreneurs and artists with a community-centered attitude—will host a silent auction on June 12 from 6–9 p.m. But Bid to Build will be anything but “silent;" the fundraising effort will feature live music, delicious food, tours, and an open bar. For attendees, the evening spent at 298 Northampton Street may yield a lot of fun, and most importantly, a bagful of unique, handmade items.
To kick-off the event, Matt Michaud’s trio will entertain guests with compositions from the 60s. This meet-and-greet portion of the evening encourages attendees to introduce themselves to the various artisans plying their crafts under the roof of this burgeoning creative destination.
“Even if you’re not going to go home with something, you’ll still have a great time,” says Sarah Fonzi, local sculptor at the Foundry.
But besides the musical performance, attendees will enjoy other indulgences. Food stations will include fare from Ristorante Lombardo, the Larkin Filling Station, Merge, and Gelato Gypsy. Servers from each restaurant will pass hors d’oeuvres throughout the large space, and the open bar will offer beer and wine in addition to a sginature cocktail created by Tony Rials, an award-winning mixologist.
During the auctions (silent and live auctions are both part of the evening’s festivities), people will be able to bid on fine art such as a cast stainless steel sculptures, multimedia art works, and framed illustrations. There will also be a couple of furniture pieces—from modern design to refurbished antiques. The Foundry’s resident artists, whose works convey a sense of Buffalo’s caliber as a thriving arts community, have created the auction’s eclectic mix of items. In addition, supporters of the Foundry will provide more than twenty smaller auction items. These items vary from kitchenware to services such as pottery classes, rental of the Foundry for a movie night, and a “Best of the Foundry” package. This package, which resembles a sampler platter, features a variety of Foundry-made items, including beauty products, cutting boards, and metal flowers designed to decorate a garden. Many of the Foundry’s talented craftspeople will also provide services for the auction, such as custom bicycle building, three-dimensional printing workshops, landscape design, wood turning, and sewing lessons. Fonzi says the silent auction is growing every day with unique household and design items, gift certificates, and bath and beauty supplies.
“I’m really hoping that this will drive people to [visit] the Foundry who have never been there before,” says Fonzi. “I hope it will give new community members an opportunity to come and see what we’re all about and what our residents have to offer.”
Since its establishment in 2012 was spearheaded by Net+Positive (an organization created by the founders of Buffalo ReUse), the Foundry has functioned as a hub of innovation and cooperation. The 30,000 square foot building strives to become a rentable collective office, multi-functioning community space, cooperative workshop, and a neighborhood anchor institution where an increasing number of entrepreneurs can create, inspire, and share their enterprises. With about ten businesses currently operating there, this would be an auspicious time for the Foundry to expand.
Even though the Foundry has come a long way in a short time, it still has an entire floor that, if properly renovated, could house additional artisans. A significant portion of funds from the Bid to Build auction will be directed toward just that.
For code compliance and safety on its second floor, the Foundry needs to install two stairwells; the current one is too steep and therefore cannot be rented to anyone upstairs. Other needs are new windows, repair of the wood floor, and the addition of insulation and a heating unit. Repairs on the first floor include creating walls, installing heating units and an exhaust system, as well as new fire exit doors.
“We’re looking for a little extra help to push the build out along. [We want to] get more residents in and more money in our pockets so we can make a nest egg for ourselves,” says Fonzi.
Mariam Makatsaria is a student at Kent State University and a Spree intern.