Buffalo, NY: A Cross-Cultural Community Arts Story is a 4-minute and 40-second, two-person narrative created by Tito Ruiz, creative director of TRu INk Media®, that intertwines two Buffalo, NY, community-centered stories. The film is narrated by Burchfield Penney Art Center Archivist Heather Gring, a SUNY Buffalo State College alumna, and Devonte Black, an international SUNY Buffalo State College Bengal soccer defender from Toronto.
The evocative artwork seen on display at the Burchfield Penney—representative of both the city’s East and West Sides—prompts Gring and Black to tell two distinctive tales about important issues affecting both sides of town. Through a look at a compelling Locust Street Art installation at the Burchfield Penney—a museum solely dedicated to Western New York art—Gring educates viewers about this East Side nonprofit art school’s eye-opening history dating back to the 1950s.
In her history lesson, Gring also alludes to the threat that massive gentrification in Buffalo’s Fruit Belt neighborhood poses to Locust Street Art’s legacy. Gring, however, prefaced her Locust Street Art discussion by mentioning how the Burchfield Penney, located on SUNY Buffalo State College’s campus, is an invaluable and underutilized community resource available to all Buffalo State College students, free of charge.
Meanwhile, Black, who majors in business, takes a break from his rigorous schedule, strolls through the Burchfield Penney and discusses how he becomes inspired by visiting the on-campus artistic enclave. On Burchfield Penney’s lower level, Black spots a “Refugee Soccer Team” aerial image photographed by Brendan Bannon at International Prep School at Grover Cleveland on Buffalo’s West Side. An introspective Black then begins to reveal the vital role that he and his teammates play in positively impacting the lives of young men in Buffalo’s burgeoning refugee community.