Empty High School Comes Alive with  Immersive Art Experiences

30 Artists  Engage, Expand and Inspire the Senses 

By Renata Toney 

For the second consecutive year, an abandoned public high school building in the historic Erie Canal village of Medina, New York—an easy (and worthwhile) 45-minute drive northeast of Buffalo—was transformed for one fleeting weekend into a magical playground for visitors of all ages to enjoy fanciful installations of contemporary art by more than 30 artists from the cities of Buffalo and Rochester and points in between.

Organized and curated by three busy Buffalo gallery owners—Anna Kaplan, Elisabeth Samuels (Indigo Art), and Emily Tucker (Benjaman Gallery)—partnering (as they do year-round) under the collective name Resource:Art—the three-day event, entitled “Play/Ground,” provides a rare opportunity for a diverse roster of contemporary artists to showcase their talents, handiwork, and flights of creative fancy.

This all takes place in window-lit classrooms, long hallways, towering stairwells, a spacious gymnasium, a multilevel auditorium, and even former boys and girls rooms, resonant spaces that are familiar but never seen quite like this before. Painters, sculptors, video and sound artists, and musicians take inspiration from the spaces themselves and the childhood associations we all have with them to create art that is both cutting edge by contemporary standards and accessible fun for all. Audiences to interact in true playground fashion.

The three partners of Resource:Art along with co-sponsoring nonprofits Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in Buffalo and Rochester Contemporary (a.k.a., RoCo), welcome this opportunity not only to  artists but also to attract and delight new audiences that might not frequent commercial galleries or contemporary art centers. 

Play/Ground (in its 2nd year) attracted 5,000 visitors building on the success of last year’s inaugural edition, plan to make it an annual event.

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Renata Toney is a Challenger contributing writer