As the demographic makeup of Western New York shifts to include many more cultures, a natural curiosity among the region’s longtime residents has taken hold. From the recently opened West Side Bazaar on Grant Street to Ujima Theatre’s laudable efforts to put refugee voices on its stage, the new infusion of global culture is finding its way into many of our arts institutions.

The Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University has long been committed to telling the stories of the area’s minority and ethnic communities through its folk arts program. This week, the museum will open two exhibitions exploring these underexposed cultures.

“(Almost) Too Good to Eat: Marking Life Transitions with Food” takes a look at the role of food in the cultural lives of communities. The show was organized by Folk Arts Curator Carrie Hertz, who said it “demonstrates some of the cross-cultural ways that food nourishes not just our bodies, but also our social and spiritual lives.”

“Newcomers: Transitions to New Lives” features portraits by Lukia Costello, who teaches English as a second language. The show, according to a release, “reveals lives in transition and illustrates the resilience of people creating new homes.”

The exhibition opens Saturday and runs through Dec. 8. An opening reception is slated for 2 p.m. July 28. Call 286-8200 or visit

– Colin Dabkowski