I have been thinking about the many opportunities for experiencing the arts. Since I am the arts administrator for the Williamsville schools, I started looking around for the places within the Town of Amherst one could go to find arts performances and/or installations (artwork, museums, etc.). With the help of Google Maps, here is what I have come up with so far:
View Arts in Amherst in a larger map
There are many opportunities in Amherst, and I’m sure there are more, but lets take a look at some of the major categories.
Since I work for one of the public school districts in Amherst, let’s start there. If you check out the calendars for high school arts events in the Amherst, Sweet Home and Williamsville school districts alone, there is enough to keep one busy and thoroughly entertained throughout the year. From concerts, to art shows, to musicals, there is outstanding young talent pouring out of our local schools.
Two diverse and unique museums in the Town of Amherst are the Amherst Museum, located in the very northern tip of the town, and the Museum of disAbility History, located in the southern west corner.
As their website states, you can visit the Amherst Museum to:
Experience 19th-century life on the Niagara Frontier and tour historic homes, churches and one-room schoolhouses on our beautiful 35-acre grounds with exhibits on local history, textiles, art and the Erie Canal.
The Williamsville District Art Show is held annually at the Amherst Museum. It is a great way to show off our talented students and also bring the community to a great venue within the district. I had the opportunity to tour the museum grounds this summer, and was incredibly impressed by the grounds and potential for other performances there. They also have many special events and themes throughout the year that are geared for all ages.
The Museum of disAbility History is:
“…dedicated to the collection, preservation and display of artifacts pertaining to the history of people with disabilities.”
The museum has a unique and important mission and provides many community events to support education about people with disabilities. You can read more about it in this article from the Amherst Bee. The also sponsors the disAbilities Film Festival and Speaker Series, held at UB each year.
In the music arena, The Amherst Symphony Orchestra is a cornerstone in the town. They have an outstanding lineup of concerts each year while in residence at Amherst Middle School. A community group with ages ranging from high school students through seasoned retirees, the ASO is a fantastic group to listen to when you have the opportunity. In addition to their regular concert season, you can find the ASO each summer at the Amherst Museum for their “Music at the Museum” concert.
If theatre is your preference, Amherst is home to at least three theatre companies with regular schedules and performance spaces. Simply by driving down Main Street from West to East, you will pass the MusicalFare Theatre, Academy of Theatre Arts, and O’Connell and Company. These companies provide opportunities for young and old alike to participate in and/or enjoy an array of diverse productions.
A conversation about arts in Amherst would not be complete without reviewing the many resources available in the University at Buffalo (UB). From the flagship Center for the Arts, to Lippes Concert Hall, to the UB Art Gallery, UB is a driving force in the arts community. Since the Center for the Arts opened, it has become a major player in Western New York for attracting top arts events.
So, if you were to lay out an annual calendar and pick just a few events from each of the organizations outlined above, you would find yourself in artful bliss just about every day of the year. In many cases, you would be double- and triple-booked on the same day. Now I am not saying for a moment that one should stay within the limits of the Town of Amherst for great arts. My point is to simply take stock of the multitude of opportunities within a few minutes of the front door.
I can’t wait to soak up some great arts in Amherst!