A bit of history...
A group of artists from Buffalo, New York (U.S.A.) and Cuernavaca, Morelos (Mexico) has formed a legal partnership with the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos (UAEM) and Casa de Arte, a new gallery that will be opening this summer in Buffalo, New York. The Asociación Cultural Buffalo Cuernavaca, A.C. (ACBC), has also initiated a dialogue with several institutions in Buffalo, to include the University of Buffalo and the Latin American Institute. The mission of (ACBC) and Casa de Arte is to begin an ongoing cultural exchange program; a sharing of intellectual information as well as the creative spirit. The artists will address their respective cultures through their work. As the program expands, visiting artists and authors will present lectures and workshops that address a multitude of issues relating to each community that are historical, political, legal, economic, social, and artistic in nature. Additional topics will include architecture, urban planning, and a study comparing the two legal systems.
The first Asociación Cultural Buffalo Cuernavaca (ACBC) art exhibition opened on June 17, 2011, at the Centro Cultural Universitario from the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos (UAEM), in Cuernavaca. A diverse group of artists presented a wide variety of art with an underlying theme consistent with the ACBC’s mission.
The second ACBC art exhibit will open on August 19, 2011 at the Casa de Arte, which is one of the largest gallery spaces Buffalo. The opening reception will be from 6 to 9 pm. Through the artists’ work, the expectation is that people from the two communities with have a better understanding of each other’s culture. The art in both venues will include paintings using various materials, photographs, sculpture, film, architecture, installations, and music. The August 19, 2011 ACBC group exhibit will include established and young, emerging Cuernavaca artists, some of the best the State of Morelos has to offer. A growing group of talented Buffalo artists are also a part of ACBC; second and third exhibitions that will include artists from both regions are scheduled to open on September 16th and October 14th, 2011. All three Casa de Arte art exhibitions will be three weeks in duration.
One of the artists will pay homage to Ben Shahn in the August 19 exhibit. The New York artist designed two magnificent stained glass windows for the Temple Beth Zion on Delaware Ave. in Buffalo. Diego Rivera, the great Mexican muralist, who lived and worked in Cuernavaca and arguably painted his most powerful murals there in the Palacio de Cortes, admired Shahn’s work and invited him to assist with murals Rivera was painting for Rockefeller Center’s RCA Building.
The motivation for forming ACBC is, in large part, because of the ignorance of historic and contemporary Mexico in the United States, which is as tragic as it is stunning. Cuernavaca, located in the heart of Mexico and known as the city of the eternal spring with one of the world’s best climates, is one of the most popular destinations for Mexican nationals but is largely unknown in the United States. We wish to inform the Buffalo region about the history of Cuernavaca and its surrounding area in the state of Morelos, which is so rich and fascinating. There is such a constant deluge of only negative information about Mexico in general that is presented in the United States on a daily basis; we wish to provide a more balanced view, starting with presenting Cuernavaca as it really is, a charming city that is overflowing with history and art. Information will include points of interest, to include the Palacio de Cortes with the incredible murals of Diego Rivera, the 16th century cathedral, an ancient pyramid and the beautiful gardens of Borda. We will also present information about other interesting cities and towns that can be reached in less than an hour and a half, from the mystical pueblo of Teopoztlan (30 minutes), to Xochicalco, one of the most exciting and richest archaeological sites in all of Mexico (45 minutes), to the beautiful silver city of Taxco on the side of a mountain (45 minutes) to the great Ciudad de Mexico (in about one hour driving distance).
On a much smaller scale, people in Buffalo can relate to being misrepresented. The vast majority of people outside of the region know only of its inclement weather. Few and aware of Buffalo’s history as the “Queen City of the Great Lakes” and its economic importance; great architecture from the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright, H.H. Richardson and Louis Sullivan, expansive waterfront with wonderful beaches, great restaurants, and numerous charming towns and villages in the region, to include Southern Ontario, Canada. Buffalo has a network of highways that will deliver you to any part of the area in twenty minutes or less, to include the majestic Niagara Falls on either side of the Canadian border. The city boasts an extensive park system designed by the country’s greatest landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmstead, who designed Central Park in New York City. With respect to weather, the summers and autumns are simply delightful and the average winter is not nearly as harsh as some depict.
There are many similarities between Buffalo and Cuernavaca, to include population, dependence upon tourism and being a city of good neighbors. However, they also share concerns that range from crime to economic health. One of the goals of this project is to provide realistic pictures of both metropolitan areas, raise issues, and promote solutions.