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Art Barge project to launch this summer

Images courtesy of TECCorp


A unique art project will soon anchor in Buffalo. Centered on floating a barge-turned-art gallery down the Erie Canal, construction is expected to begin this summer.

The assemblage will take place at Burchfield Penney Art Center, with the floating gallery ready to hit the water in the summer of 2015. The barge's journey will run from Buffalo, across New York State, and down the Hudson River to New York City.

The Trans Empire Canal Corporation (TECCorp) is steering the four phases of the project, the first of which includes the building of the barge, followed by the journey from Buffalo to Brooklyn and back, and ending with the barge taking its permanent place of residence downtown, at Canalside.

According to TECCorp’s mission statement, they intend the mobile gallery to serve as a tool that creates community and cultural connections across New York State. The barge will moor at stops along the canal in order to connect art institutions, artists, and audiences.

Of the $1 million dollars the project is expected to cost, about $20,000 has been raised thus far. This leaves some uncertainty for the future of the final three phases.

Scott Propeack, associate director and curator for the Burchfield Penney Art Center, says they will assess moving forward after the first phase is completed, but the Burchfield plans to be involved for as long as the project lasts. “Ultimately the remaining phases of the project will, in total, be a lot more complicated and need a lead organization to be realized,” Propeack said. “So far, any planning for the future has included—and been built from—Burchfield Penney relationships across the state.”

While the project remains promising, according to D. Oliver Delrieu-Schulze, the artist responsible for the project, there are still a lot of "ifs" associated with the project, but this hasn’t stopped him from envisioning what the project could eventually become. “The idea behind doing the show, and going to New York City and back, is to build the conversation between New York and Buffalo, and cities in between, like Rochester and Syracuse,” Delrieu-Schulze said. “In the long-term, if things work out it would be really interesting to expand the project.”

Delrieu-Schulze sees the traveling aspect of the project as an excellent facilitator for internal conversation between New York State cities and as an even larger, more public discussion between Great Lakes cities.

Any artist who wishes to have their work showcased on the barge project is urged to contact Delrieu-Schulze at director@galeriesNFS.com with samples and a statement regarding their work. The deadline to be considered for phase one of the project is March 9, 2014. He also encourages the Buffalo community to attend the public forums held periodically about the project. The next public forum is scheduled for February 27.

“The underlying theme of the project is conversation and community,” Delrieu-Schulze said. “Even if people don’t directly engage, we’d love for people to ask questions, present ideas, and bring their own knowledge. So the hope is that besides just the show at the Burchfield, there’s going to be opportunities for people to think about that and be able to share what they know.”



Michael Provenzano is a college student and an intern for Buffalo Spree.

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