Spotlight: One, Two, Three, Trimania!
APRIL 14, 2018 / 8PM-1AM
TriMain Center / 2495 Main Street / 716-833-4450 / trimania.com
Trimania is big. Big as an entire former windshield wiper factory. Big enough that you might walk in with a couple friends, lose them at the door, and not see them for the rest of the night. Big enough that, for all the familiar faces you’ll see among the crowd and in the lineup of artists and performers and organizations that teem the hallways of the sprawling Tri-Main Center during this one-night-only art party, you will be nonetheless overwhelmed by novelty and strangeness.
Trimania—a fundraiser and showcase for Buffalo Arts Studio, the nonprofit arts center located in the Tri-Main—is so big that it can only happen once every three years. And the day is upon us: It happens Saturday, April 14, 8pm-1am. There are more than 50 musical acts participating, a dozen dance performances, maybe 100 or so visual artists, and many sundry delights—far too many to list here. (Visit trimania.com for a full listing and schedule.) Tickets are $25 general admission, $50 for a VIP pass that gets you into an early reception at 6:30pm ($80 for two of those), and worth every penny.
We dispatched a few questions to the fine folks at Buffalo Arts Studio—BAS director Alma Carillo, and curators Shirley Verrico and Dana Tyrell—about this behemoth of a party. Here’s what they had to say:
Give us a rundown of what people will find at Trimania this year. What should folks look for?
This Trimania is the biggest one yet. We have more than 75 visual artists exhibiting work within Tri-Main Center, including Buffalo Arts Studio’s featured exhibits with Mizin Shin, Feedback Loop and Chuck Tingley, Stream. We also have more than 100 musicians and performing acts spread throughout the evening, and spanning the gargantuan, six-floor Tri-Main Center that Buffalo Arts Studio has called home since 1991.
We have partnered with fellow Tri-Main resident Twisted Rope to develop an app for Trimania, which allows you to curate your perfect evening; you can see your favorite artists, never miss a single performance throughout the night, and most importantly locate bathrooms and bars throughout our sprawling event. The free app can be found in app stores by searching “Trimania,” and we would encourage anyone coming before to download it and start planning their evening!
How do the curators go about imagining this sort of broad and immersive experience?
[SHIRLEY VERRICO:] Trimania is amazing, but an event of this size takes dozens of people and hundreds of hours of planning. Trimania is also a bit of a wild beast. It brings together so many creatives and fills so much space, you have to let grow organically.
Last fall, I walked all 575,000 square feet of the building with Tri-Main owner Matt Wolfe and saw some very interesting spaces. He gave me a lot of freedom, including use of several large, unrented suites, and with so much space I knew I couldn’t do it alone. Buffalo Arts Studio is a community of artists so I asked for help from my community. The curatorial committee includes Julia Bottoms, Zainab Saleh, Kathleen Sherin, Dana Tyrrell, and me; each of us has a unique curatorial perspective as well as diverse networks, so we wanted to utilize this collective knowledge. We brought in artists we know and trust, and welcomed a number of new artists who approached us.
For this iteration of Trimania we have hallway galleries, micro galleries, and live action art making. We are also working with a number of galleries and art spaces. This Trimania will host Contemporary Galleries of Buffalo, with over 3,645 square feet of visual and performing arts installations by regional artists curated by ArtReach, Benjaman Gallery, Pine Apple Company, Resource:Art, and Revolution Gallery. Additionally, Sugar City Arts Collaborative is presenting a microcosm of their Niagara Street space with DIY musicians and artists inside a 3,900-square-foot space. The Aspire of WNY, Inc. iXpress crew has created “Beneath the Surface,” an installation depicting a voyage under the sea. Dana Tyrrell and Kathleen Sherin have curated a suite of offices spaces-cum-micro galleries featuresting the art of Avye Alexandres, Jonathan Casey, Michael Degnan, Robert Fleming, Gerald Mead, Alexis Oltmer, and Dana Tyrrell.
The process with the music and dance was similar. The entertainment committee came together and made suggestions for performers to fit the available spaces. We have added a Jazz Lounge, which will feature Saranaide, the Shadows with Terri George, and Carina and the Six String Preacher. Influential music booker Marty Boratin is a rock star and the backbone of the music programming. He has donated hundreds of hours, booking bands like Fredtown Stompers, Tiger Chung Lee, Little Cake, Aircraft, and Pine Fever. Elías Benavídes, Kenny Maggs, and Marty have also spent a ton of time in TriMain making certain there is adequate power for sound, staging, and lighting too. Like with the visual arts, we are collaborating with other organizations. The Sportsmen’s Foundation is hosting the Americana Room with bands like Shaky Stage, Ten Cent Howl, Steam Donkeys, and Miller and the Other Sinners. Jill Shanley Morlock worked her magic and booked dozens of dancers to move throughout the building as well as perform on main stages.
Tri-Main tenants have also contributed in numerous ways, most notably with our technology partner Twisted Rope, who have developed the aforementioned app. Several tenants will also be hosting their own events throughout the evening, such as Buffalo Game Space; they will be showcasing locally made video games, virtual reality experiences, as well as playing “chip tunes.” Other tenants will play host to visual and performing artists. Newbird, a digital marketing agency, will be hosting a participatory quilting workshop with the renowned Jack Foran. This event also brings tenants together, WNYCOSH will host their floor neighbor Pure Ink Poetry for a Poetry Slam.
Give us a brief overview of BAS’s mission, maybe some examples of that mission fulfilled.
Buffalo Arts Studio was established with the goal to provide affordable studio space and valuable exposure for artists while also offering arts education and public art for the entire community. Since 1991, Buffalo Arts Studio has been a catalyst for self-empowerment and the cultivation of new ideas and actions that enhance our region. We achieve this through our dynamic courses and workshops, engaging exhibitions, thoughtful public art, effectual mentorships, strong artist support, and meaningful partnerships. Located on the fifth floor of the Tri-Main Center, Buffalo Arts Studio houses two galleries and a community space gallery that are free and open to the general public, with extended hours on Fourth Fridays thanks to M&T Bank support. Also within the more than 20,000 square feet of space are 30 studios for visual artists who apply and are selected to be Resident Artists and Aspire of Western New York’s art program, iXpress. The education program offers classes for hundreds youth and adults every year. Our youth program, Jump Start provides professional arts training and mentoring to local youth.
How does BAS sustain itself? How important is this event to BAS?
Buffalo Arts Studio is sustained and maintained through Trimania, so this event is an essential fundraising opportunity in our repertoire. It happens only once every three years, so it’s not only the biggest party in Buffalo each time it happens, but it allows us to work within the Tri-Main community, the Western New York arts community, as well as our many community partners. Trimania is a triennial call to renew the mission and spirit of Buffalo Arts Studio, and our staff has been deeply touched by the outpouring of support from all of our partners as well as the unflagging support of what we represent within the arts community.
What are BAS’s plans for the upcoming year? What should we look forward to?
We have a very exciting programming schedule ahead for the rest of the year, including our Resident Artists who continue to exhibit both completed pieces and works in process in their studio spaces year-round.
We are thrilled to be organizing the first large-scale solo exhibit of BAS Resident Artist Muhammad Z. Zaman, who is a Buffalo-based, urban artist specializing in calligraphy. Zaman uses the languages that make up his identity: English for his current home, Bengali as the language of his fatherland, and Arabic as the language of his religion. His canvas paintings and wall murals layer powerful messages onto seemingly borderless fields in order to inspire people to learn from each other in harmony and mutual understanding. His work has recently been featured in smaller projects with El Museo and the Burchfield Penney Arts Center, so we are very excited to not only have him among our Resident Artists, but to also give him the platform to exhibit his work on a larger scale.
Additionally, we will be exhibiting the work of Jozef Bajus, our newest Resident Artist at Buffalo Arts Studio. Bajus forthcoming body of work utilizes remnants of the light industries inside Tri-Main Center; he makes sculpture out of the detritus of contemporary culture. His work imagines another future for that which is too often discarded. He rejects the notion that the act of “disposal” ends one’s societal obligation. By investigating the production processes as well as the refuse from such production, Bajus will construct original objects that bring new understanding to the possibilities that lie within what is too often discarded.