A Day of Art & Adventure

My youngest child, Grace, turned 10 years old today. It’s so hard to believe she’s 10! No longer a baby, but always our “Gracie Baby.” To celebrate, (one of MANY celebrations for her birthday) we went to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY yesterday. Grace loves art…especially painting, sculpting and drawing so when she found out it was “Family Funday” she was pretty excited to go and felt it was best to ditch her older siblings and invite her friend Emily :).

If you live out of town or you recently moved to Buffalo and you’re not familiar with the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, it’s a major showplace for modern & contemporary art along with pieces collected over the decades including some by Monet, Van Gogh and Henri Matisse just to name a few. On the second Sunday of every month the admission is just $5 for the entire family and includes interactive art activities for both children and adults. Grace’s friend, Emily, recently traveled to Paris and shared with us that when they visited the Louvre, a woman asked where they were from. When she learned they were from the United States, she told them the Louvre had pieces on display from the Albright Knox in Buffalo, NY. So you see, the Albright Knox is kind of a big deal and Emily was proud to say she was from Buffalo!

After parking the car, our first stop was Hoyt Lake. In the summertime at Hoyt Lake you will find people fishing, canoeing and row boating. Around the lake were families having picnics, people reading and napping. We discovered a row boat rental place and for $10 we rented a boat for a half hour adventure on the lake (aka upper body and core workout for me, relaxing ride for the girls!)

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After a successful boat ride and spotting some fish in the lake we headed to the Albright -Knox. We stopped for a few photos in front of the various sculptures surrounding the building. I love the photo of the girls pretending to hold up Nancy Rubin’s “Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Monochrome I, Built to Live Anywhere, at Home Here.”

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Once inside and past admission, we headed straight for the fun in one of the classrooms! We were greeted by 2 friendly volunteers who explained what the art project was and the girls receieved the supplies to make the project. The activity was based on artist Tam Van Tran’s 3D painting/hole-punching/stapling collages as seen in the art gallery. They loved it and I loved watching how intensely interested they were in making it!

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After crafting their masterpieces we headed to Joe Bradley’s exhibit of abstract silkscreen paintings. Below was our favorite from his exhibit. You can’t tell from this photo, but that painting was probably 10’x10′!

Followed by….you guessed it! The Shark Girl exhibit! I had the pleasure of speaking to a woman who worked at the gallery about Shark Girl and learned that it is the most successful exhibit the Albright -Knox has ever had. Ever! Isn’t that incredible?! A girl who is half-shark, half-girl has captured the hearts of so many with her whimsy and almost lonely look. Though you may not see it in her eyes, she’s far from lonely now as her exhibit at the gallery and sculpture at Canalside both draw a constant flow of visitors daily.  The sculpture at Canalside arrived 3 years ago and has been embraced by the entire city to the point where it’s considered one of Buffalo’s best-known attractions!

The artist and creator of Shark Girl, Casey Riordan Millard, is from Cincinatti. She created the Shark Girl image as a way to try to understand her anxieties in life. It was a form of therapy for her which started as sketches and later included 3-D artwork, paintings and drawings.

Although some don’t understand all of the hype about Shark Girl there are plenty who do! Middle-aged women are supposedly most attracted to Shark Girl. Young Moms are asking for wallpaper with Shark Girl on it to decorate their nurseries and children’s bedrooms. Perhaps she is something like a Disney character? She tells a story. She’s someone who we can all relate to and is liked by all. People seem to relate to her physical awkwardness and inability to fit in. Who hasn’t felt awkward or different at some point in their life? She begs to be loved and love is a universal language that we all understand. She appears to be sad, yet she proudly persists. She stands on display daily, ready for photographs and selfie after selfie after selfie!

Here she is! I won’t share all of the photos I took because I really want you to go and see the exhibit yourself! She’s there until Oct. 1.

We ended our adventure by walking through the Delaware Rose Garden and visiting the new restaurant at the Delaware Casino, “The Terrace at Delaware Park.” I can’t tell you how the food was because we didn’t eat there but I can tell you that the view on the outdoor terrace overlooking Hoyt Lake and the back of the Albright-Knox is gorgeous.

A fun day was had by all…for just $15! Ah Buffalo, I love you and all of your beauty!


Maria McKendry

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