On Saturday, November 5, the Buffalo AKG Art Museum welcomed over three hundred guests to Standing Ovation, a festive evening to celebrate the innovative spirit of the Albright-Knox Northland exhibition program. The month of November is traditionally reserved for the museum’s fall gala, but with a spring opening celebration on the horizon, the museum decided to get creative and reimagine a new structure for the event.
“When planning this event, it was important to Kevin, Rachelle, and me to put the community first and reflect our shared vision for a museum that serves everyone,” said chairperson Roscoe Henderson of himself and other cochairs Kevin and Rachelle Robinson. “People really enjoyed themselves because the format of the event was open and accessible and gave people the chance to talk to one another.”
As a result, guests were able to spend more time with the artworks on view that evening—and each other!
The event was enlivened by performances by local performers Henri Star Muhammad, Curtis Lovell, and DJ Lisa Lux—B.Flo Girls.
“At every stage of planning, from extending invitations to our community partners to performance and entertainment, we made sure the event supported the museum’s initiatives of inclusivity, diversity, and engagement," said Kevin Robinson.
“What was unique about this year was the one-night-only exhibition with local artists Julia, Tricia, Max, Fotini, Rachel, and Phyllis, whose creativity not only makes Buffalo an incredible place to live but also shows the diversity that exists within our community!” said chairperson Rachelle Robinson.
The works of about sixty artists were exhibited at Albright-Knox Northland over the course of the AKG’s three-year residency. From that group, the museum invited the six local artists-in-residence from the 2021 exhibition Hervé Tullet: Shape and Color to serve as Honorary Chairs of this event, a place of honor that has been occupied by global rockstars like Takashi Murakami and Anthony McCall.
The team of Delaware North and Patina Restaurant Group developed seven stations of cuisine inspired by the exhibitions that were on view at AK Northland, and, in addition to fabricating artworks for the event, artist Julia Bottoms contributed two cocktails to the menu and Phyllis Thompson shared a groundnut stew to honor her ancestors.
Board Members Roscoe Henderson and Kevin Robinson and Rachelle Robinson served as chairpersons of the evening.
“Standing Ovation was about celebrating community,” said chairperson Kevin Robinson. “It was truly special to have the opportunity to chair an event in the Northland community where I grew up."
"The love I have for the AKG began in grade school. I am delighted to play a role in the awesome and bright future of the museum. Go AKG!” said Henderson.
Public Art Curator Aaron Ott, who was highly involved in programming exhibitions in our temporary residence, reflected on Albright-Knox Northland, "This space was really critical in ensuring that we walked the walk of saying, 'We are here for the community, we're a part of the community—and that the community is part of the museum.' I think the Northland space really solidified that for me."
Said Board President Alice Jacobs, “While we unfortunately have to give this building back to the city, I think you can look at Northland as an evolution of who we are in the community. This ethos of community connectedness and engagement is going to continue even more so in our new campus.”