In 2012, word made its way into local artistic circles that architect and Buffalo booster David Lagé was rounding up support for a new project designed to transform vacant lots across the city’s vast East Side into spaces where art, activism and eventually commerce would converge.
After years of planning and fundraising, the first sculpture in the Artfarms project is set to be unveiled at 1 p.m. Saturday at Michigan Street and Laurel Avenue on the Michigan-Riley urban farm (108 Riley St.). It is a gargantuan, 32- by 8-foot table in the form of a tree made by artist Michael Beitz and intended to serve as a functional sculpture where community members will gather for meetings and dinners.
“Beitz’s table initiates the Artfarms mission by transforming a vacant lot into a vibrant place, simultaneously supporting the work of the farmers and creating a place for community activities,” according to a release from Artfarms. The organization also will work with Locust Street Neighborhood Art Classes, the Farmer Pirates Cooperative and Emerging Leaders in the Arts Buffalo to plan a series of dinners that will feature produce grown on the nearby Michigan Riley farm.
Saturday’s party, which includes food, music and tours of the farm, runs from 1 to 5 p.m. Visit www.artfarms.org for more information.
– Colin Dabkowski