My partner and I emigrated from Buffalo to sunny Niagara Falls in 2017. Since then, we have traveled to Buffalo to attend national musical performances five times.
That may seem like a paltry number, considering we moved here three years before the global pandemic.
We’ve made two of five trips in the past three weeks, the first on March 26 to see blues guitarist Tab Benoit at Tralf Music Hall and the second on Friday April 15 to see rock band Kansas at Shea’s Performing Arts Center. The Kansas concert was scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. There was plenty of time to wander around the theater district since we found a fabulous parking spot on Franklin Street at 6:45 p.m.
As we walked along Chippewa Street, admired the hip bars, and rounded the corner on Main Street, Tom asked, “Do you miss living in Buffalo? I quickly replied,
“Nope!”. However, as I gazed at the streetscape, the Irish Classical Theater and the lighted marquee at Shea, I suddenly stopped, looked at my partner and said, ‘I miss theatres.
I love living in Niagara Falls and the Niagara Arts and Culture Center (NACC) is the city’s star for multicultural arts and community theatre. Why does the NACC seem like an afterthought among state, county and local leaders?
Community theatres, art museums, galleries and performance venues can be economic engines that revitalize small towns using existing resources.
I see the CNLA as an unrecognized agent of economic development. Many neighborhoods in Buffalo claim a community theater. The Paul Robeson Theatre,
Ujima Company, Inc, Torn Space Theater and Theater of Youth are just a few theaters nestled in residences and along commercial districts. These theaters help make Buffalo attractive to residents and visitors.
More attention and investment should be given to the NACC. Niagara Falls is a small town. It may not have the infrastructure to house multiple community theaters, but the NACC is a wonderful place to begin a revitalization effort. It offers a year-round multicultural entertainment opportunity. The NACC has the potential to be our Tralf Music Hall, Smith Theater and Burchfield Penney under one roof.
It would have been nice to have had some of the funds for a new Buffalo Bills stadium redirected to smaller arts projects with a larger impact, like the NACC fundraising campaign. Nobody seems to care about the arts in an election year. The Buffalo Bills must have a new stadium, or the city of Buffalo will fall like Rome! Its good. Bills fans can shed tears in their takeout drinks. They have a habit of crying.
Thriving arts communities and performance venues in small towns can help small businesses and be a source of pride. The Historic Palace Theater in Lockport and the Riviera Theater in North Tonawanda are shining examples of Niagara County’s sources of economic growth. Let’s not forget all the cultural accompaniments available in Lewiston.
The Rapids is in danger of being seized. NACC’s central location and greater artistic functionality make it more worthy of investment, community and city
In his book The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces (1980), sociologist William H. Whyte states, “What attracts people most, it seems, is other people. Mr.
Whyte was referring to urban design and public spaces. His sentiment is not only admirable; it is applicable.
The NACC is an important ingredient in connecting communities and fostering economic development, or at least it should be. We should make it world class art
center to complete our world-class stunts. Don’t we deserve beautiful things?
Sharon Bailey is a resident of Niagara Falls, NY. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org