READY TO TRANSFORM THE NEIGHBORHOOD
You know what this is…the church on Richmond and West Ferry that you drive, walk or bike by all the time. After standing vacant for years, the Richmond Ferry Church (or former Richmond Avenue Methodist- Episcopal Church) will be transformed into a one-of-a-kind, multipurpose arts campus. “Multipurpose” is a strong descriptor here because the completed campus will house several community, arts, dance, theater and music organizations, plus an unbelievable performing arts center, art gallery, residential apartments, and business incubator. Artists of all genres, startups, nonprofits, and collaborative businesses will all be welcome to this community space.
Why you should be excited about this:
This is all about a community coming together to fulfill a creative vision. The core development team is made up of local developers, artists, contractors, and creators. Nearly 50 community, art, environmental, and development advisors have weighed in on this project to ensure its future success. Owner and developer of the former church Rachel Heckl describes this as an enhancement to the city’s arts, dance, theater and music communities. The project’s mission is to build off the momentum that is already happening in the Buffalo’s creative scenes.
A big focus will be placed on movement artists and dancers, something you could say that our city is missing. The development team is installing spring floors and stages, and a backstage area specifically for movement artists. The team hopes to showcase both local and traveling dance companies, being a strong support system for the dance community.
This will be the most extensive renovation process the building has gone through since it was constructed in the 1890s. The development team is taking a historic restoration approach which will preserve and restore the original architecture and design of the church. So don’t worry, the beautiful stain glass windows that you’ve passed 230 times on Richmond Ave. will still be there (and they’ll be weatherproofed).
What to expect:
If all goes according to plan, the arts campus will be up and running in summer 2017. If you’ve got a big event in your future, consider the campus! They’re already looking into booking weddings and events late into next year. Happening this summer, you’ll see a few public art installations around the exterior of the church. More to come soon…