Dana Saylor Part II – City of Night, Emerging Leaders in the Arts Buffalo, Artist and Preservationist

Dana2

Meet Dana Again!

So if you read the first article about Dana Saylor, we discussed ELAB (Emerging Leaders in the Arts Buffalo) as well as City of Night and Dana’s move to Buffalo. I had some questions for her, as well, about the logistics of CON.\ such as: Why only one City of Night per year? Where does ELAB go from here? And what were her plans for the future? The answers may just surprise you!

“The mother of excess is not joy but joylessness.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

When I originally asked Dana why there is only one City of Night, I was anxious to find out why. The event is one of the most interesting and unique events I have ever been to! The hope was to maybe see if I could influence her to do a Fall version of City of Night. She laughed when I asked her the question of why only one CON, and is there a chance for another in the Fall?

“No, we start planning this event for the upcoming year the day after it ends,” she said. “Logistically, it would be a nightmare, as it takes almost all of our resources to handle just this one-day event.” Then I figured it out; a marquee event like this only makes sense one day a year. Anymore than that would spoil the uniqueness of the event and make it stale. By doing smaller things after the event like the Live Art at the Ruins with Emerging Leaders in the Arts Buffalo, they can focus on turning out great experiences and keeping the public aware of what they’re doing.

Still, I would love to see a Fall event, simply for the fact that being around ten thousand plus people in the Summer can be, well, sweaty!

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

ELAB

When I asked what was next from ELAB and Dana, I found some interesting answers. “We will be doing some interesting events in the future,” she said. “In October, we plan on doing a ‘Creative Conversation’ or a ‘Mini City of Night’ that requires much less planning.”

“We also hope to do more art-based projects down by the Ruins of Canalside, possibly with performance art or live poets. We have some interesting things in the works.”

She also made a point to say that now that they (ELAB) has grown, they would like to put down roots. They are even exploring options of putting down roots in Buffalo, with a possible Library of Arts, which would be called the ELABrary–of course. Yes, that kind of library, one where art supplies could be borrowed and returned and with a studio for people to work at. It also may even have a storefront for artists to display their wares.

“Not a store, mind you, but more of an area for emerging artists to compare work and a place for them to hone their crafts,” Dana said. And, in all honesty, it made perfect sense. If you want to help create cultural growth, you need to help sustain what you’re trying to create.

“The little bit you and me might change the world,” Malloy smiled, “it wouldn’t show up until a hundred years after we were dead. We’d never see it.”

“But it’d be there.”

James Jones, From Here to Eternity

Photo by Erica Morano

Art at City of Night – Photo by Erica Morano

Dana and I wrapped up our conversation, discussing Buffalo’s burgeoning economic growth and what it means for the city as a whole. We both agreed to one major fact, and that’s without any development in Buffalo’s most poverty stricken area–the East Side–what good was all this development? The Library of Arts was one way she felt that they could change some of that. While we both understood that a change has to come from within the community, at least there needs to be an effort! Without it, then what will we have accomplished?

“The fact is we could go and buy a whole street worth of homes, but unless the community accepts that or wants to better itself, then what was the point?”

“We need to facilitate change, but we need to ask ourselves, how is being here helping the local residents on a day to day basis?” she asked rhetorically. “We want to help residents better their lives through creative means.”

Truly the words of someone who not just wants to make a difference, but is already doing so!

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