Buffalo in the news

In 1967-68, this is what brought national attention to the Queen City

As Spree published its first issues in 1967–68, there was plenty of excitement in Buffalo over the groundbreaking of UB’s North Campus (above, second from left), the dedication of One M&T Plaza (above, left), and Buffalo’s first and second Festivals of the Arts (shown: John Barth and John Cage, who participated).


As Spree begins to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary this year, we’re taking a look at what was happening that brought national attention to the Queen City. One event was Buffalo’s Festival of the Arts, which was founded the same year as Spree and had a second edition in 1968, noticed by the New York Times as follows:


This industrial city has been in heavy cultural production since last Saturday, when the Second Buffalo Festival of the Arts Today went into operation. ... conductor Lukas Foss, touseled and in working fatigues, rushed down to the luncheon group [presided over by Seymour H. Knox] on the museum’s lower level and pleaded for guests to keep it quite—the Philharmonic was in the middle of a recording session upstairs. ... This is typical of the arts frenzy that has seized Buffalo this week. 


In a 11/23/11 article in the Washington Post, dancer Meg Harper remembers the first Festival of the Arts:


We went on a bus to Buffalo, where Merce [Cunningham] made RainForest. Andy Warhol had made these pillows [for the decor], and they experimented with them to get the helium right. And Warhol wanted the dancers to be naked. Well, that couldn’t happen. So then Jasper Johns took over and created skin-colored tights and leotards. Then he would take each of us individually and, with scissors, cut these wounds in them.


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