Buffalo Exchange, Arts Award, Allison Miller, Bryan Falcon

Congrats to Allison Miller and Bryan Falcón – Recipients of the 2019 Buffalo Exchange Arts Award!

Each year, Buffalo Exchange teams up with the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona to award an artist in Southern Arizona with the Arts Award. Candidates are selected by two separate panels of experts who are familiar with the Southern Arizona Arts scene and judged based on both the candidates’ artistic endeavors and the impact they’ve made in the community. Since 1994, Buffalo Exchange has awarded almost $240,000 to 26 Southern Arizona artists.

Rebecca Block and Kerstin Block with Allison Miller and Bryan Falcón

For the 25th round of recipients in 2019, Buffalo Exchange Founder & President Kerstin Block and her daughter, Vice President Rebecca Block, celebrated by offering two awards of $10,000 – one in performing arts and one in visual arts.“We created the Arts Award because we believe art is essential to the well-being of the community,” says Kerstin. “This year, we’re glad for the chance to honor Allison and Bryan, who both have an incredible impact on the local area.”

Allison Miller with Buffalo Exchange Founder Kerstin Block and CFSA Director of Community Investments Kelly Huber

Meet Allison, a Tucson-Born Muralist
Allison Miller, a muralist and native of Tucson, has spent much of her career giving back to the community through public art projects. She currently coordinates and facilitates murals that are artistically accessible for community members, allowing young artists and other volunteers to contribute. “A lot of it for me is involving people in creating an identity for their specific space,” says Miller, “whether it’s a park or their jogging path. When people are invested in beautification, they keep it that way.” Having worked on dozens of murals, Miller’s art is a familiar sight and an ode to the unique identity of Tucson.

Scoundrel & Scamp Postcard: Images by Tim Fuller, Design by Cat Dog Mouse Media

Scoundrel & Scamp Production of Blood Wedding: Photo by Tim Fuller.

Bryan Falcón with Buffalo Exchange Founder Kerstin Block and CFSA Director of Community Investments Kelly Huber

Meet Bryan Falcón, Founder of Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre
Bryan Falcón, winner of the performing arts award, is the Artistic and Managing Director of the Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre, a nonprofit he founded with his wife after becoming enamored with the art scene and diverse culture of Tucson. Bryan believes that theater uplifts society by transporting people to places that they would not otherwise go. “We have a chance to step into somebody else’s skin for a little while and try to understand and, hopefully, walk away with some sort of connection to the heart,” says Bryan.

Allison Miller Mural

It’s reasons like these that Buffalo Exchange has continued this award for the past 25 years. “Art is not something that humans do when they have nothing else to do,” said Spencer Block, Buffalo Exchange co-founder. “Art is an essential part of the human condition. It happens everywhere and in all circumstances.” To learn more about the history of the Arts Award and to see a list of all other artists who’ve been honored over the years, visit the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona’s website!


Buffalo Exchange, HQ. Arts Award, Arts Award Honorees

Celebrating 25 Years of the Buffalo Exchange Arts Award!

Happy awards season, everyone! While we certainly love watching our favorite celebs strut the red carpet, there’s another important accolade that comes to mind: the 2019 Buffalo Exchange Arts Award! According to Buffalo Exchange co-founder Spencer Block, art is not “the cherry on top” of life — rather, it is “essential to the well-being of society”. For the past two and a half decades, Buffalo Exchange has supported the creative spirit of Southern Arizona by honoring local artists, and performers with the Arts Award. Read ahead to learn more about the history of the Award and some of our past honorees. 

How the Arts Awards Came to Be

In 1994, Kerstin and Spencer Block founded The Buffalo Exchange Arts Award in partnership with the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA). Since that time, the Fund has awarded $10,000 a year to one deserving local artist. This has allowed artists to continue their work in the local community.  We are absolutely thrilled to celebrate 25 years of the Arts Award by honoring not just one, but two Southern Arizonans who’ve made a significant impact in the lives of fellow Arizonans through their work. This year’s dual award will go to Allison Miller for Visual Arts and Bryan Falcón for Performing Arts. They’ll both receive $10,000 to continue their excellent work in the community during a ceremony on January 30th, 2020 at the Community Foundation Campus.

Buffalo Exchange Arts Awards Honorees

Buffalo Exchange, Arts Award, Dante Celeiro

Dante Celeiro, Community Leader and 2018 Arts Award Recipient

Dante Celeiro is a leader in the LGBTQIA+ community of Tucson. After moving from NYC to the desert over 25 years ago, Dante has worked with the Southern Arizona Aids Foundation and now manages Boys R Us, Arizona’s first gender performance group. Dante also created Fluxx, a non-profit organization that advocates for an open dialogue around queer culture and works to increase visibility of queer arts and culture through exhibitions, performance art and workshops.

Buffalo Exchange, HQ, Arts Award, Interpretive Dance, Performing Arts Buffalo Exchange, HQ, Arts Award, Nathanael Meyers, Performing Arts

Nathanael Gregory Myers, Multi-Discipline Performing Artist and 2017 Arts Award Recipient 

As a multidisciplinary artist, Nathanael has showcased his art throughout a wide array of Tucson venues – most notably through his work with the Museum of Contemporary Art and through performances at Artifact Dance Project and The Rogue Theatre (you can also find some of his paintings hung in galleries across town!). A painter, dancer and musician, Nathanael works to combine romanticism, biology and elements of nature as he explores the mediums of visual and performing arts.

Buffalo Exchange, HQ, Arts Award, Painter, Rachael Rios

Rachael Rios, Visual Artist and 2016 Arts Award Recipient

The 2016 Buffalo Exchange Emerging Artist in Visual Arts Award went to artist Racheal Rios. Rachael is a native Tucsonan who describes her drawings as a reflection of her relationship with the desert and the things that inhabit it — common elements of her artwork include cactus flowers and various Arizona wildlife such as coyotes, javelinas and jaguars.

Buffalo Exchange, HQ, Arts Award, Rick Wamer, Performing ArtistBuffalo Exchange, HQ. Arts Award, Rick Wamer, Performing Artist

Rick Wamer, Visual & Performing Artist and 2015 Arts Award Recipient 

Rick Wamer has been described by Tucson Weekly as “part dancer, part actor, part comedian”. Mentored by the famed French actor and mime Marcel Marceau, Rick is a globally recognized performing artist who inspires and touches the lives of thousands each year. Rick is the co-founder of Embody Learning in Tucson.

Buffalo Exchange, HQ, Arts Award, Musician, Chris Black

Chris Black, Performing Artist and 2014 Arts Award Recipient

Chris Black is a composer and performer from Tucson. Currently playing primarily as a solo double bassist, he is the founder of the alt-classical chamber music concert series ChamberLab.

Buffalo Exchange, HQ, Arts Award, Artist, Heather Green Heather Green, Visual Artist and 2010 Arts Award Recipient

The 2010 Arts Award was bestowed upon visual artist Heather Green. In Green’s own words, her work examines the “historical and ecological narratives of the Northern Gulf of California and Sonoran Desert.” A Tucson native, Heather currently works in Tempe as Assistant Professor of Book Arts at Arizona State University.

Since its creation in 1994, Buffalo Exchange has awarded over $214,000 to artists in Southern Arizona. As we look forward to the next decade, we’re reminded of a quote from Spencer Block: “Artists are the visionaries. They go where no one has gone and show us the way.” In 2020 and the years beyond, we can count on Buffalo Exchange and the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona to continue to celebrate artists in our community so they may continue their work, and in turn, continue to show us the way into the future.


Sedona Band Photographed by Katherine Bonnie

Meet Sedona – One of Brooklyn’s Bands to Watch

By Katherine Bonnie & Aarian Frye, Photography by Katherine Bonnie

Sedona, band in vintage nightgowns, photographed by Katherine Bonnie

Meet Sedona: the electrifying dirty pop group based out of New York City. The band is comprised of five members: Tia on drums, Merilyn on keyboard, Claire on guitar, and Lily on bass with lead singer Sedona at the forefront. Even though the group has a wide array of personal styles, they’re all avid thrifters with an appreciation for vintage gems. It’s little surprise, then, that the group loves shopping at Buffalo! “I’ve shopped at Buffalo for as long as I’ve lived in New York, so four years now,” Claire says. “My entire outfit is from Buffalo Exchange!” Tia adds.

Sedona, band seated for portrait, photographed by Katherine Bonnie

Sedona did their first tour in March of 2019, driving 70 hours across the country in an old church bus to play SXSW and venues in New Orleans, Pennsylvania and their home base of NYC. “We played a bunch of shows. It was beyond fun to travel and perform with a group of inspiring ladies that I’m lucky enough to call my family!” says lead singer Sedona. They returned full of inspiration for new projects. All five members of the band light up when they talk about their plans for the group. “We set aside some time this summer to write together, which was a first for us, and we can’t wait to play more shows.”

Sedona’s next show is at Rough Trade in Brooklyn on Wednesday, August 14th. You can find their music on Spotify, Soundcloud and Youtube and keep up with the band on Instagram and Facebook. If you’re feeling inspired by this band’s catchy tunes and unique personal styling, head to your local Buffalo Exchange to shop some vintage finds of your own!


Buffalo Exchange, Headquarters, 5 Gyres, Plastic Pollution

More Ocean, Less Plastic: Meet Our Earth Day $1 Day Sale Beneficiary

By Danielle Hargett, Buffalo Exchange HQ

Every year, we choose a different environmental charity to support through our Earth Day $1 Day Sale. For 2018, we’re thrilled to announce that all proceeds from the sale will go to The 5 Gyres Institute! 5 Gyres is an organization dedicated to using science, art, education and adventure to understand and reduce plastic pollution.

Mark Your Calendars

Buffalo Exchange, HQ, 5 Gyres, Prince Leopold Islands

Clear your schedule – our 21st annual Earth Day $1 Day Sale is coming up on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at all locations, excluding outlets. A special selection of men’s and women’s fashion will be available for just $1 apiece. All proceeds of the sale will be donated to The 5 Gyres Institute in support of their efforts to research ocean plastic pollution and engage communities in the responsible use, design and disposal of plastic materials.

So, What’s a Gyre?

Buffalo Exchange, HQ, 5 Gyres, Beach

A gyre, pronounced jy-yure, is a ring-like oceanic current system. There are 5 subtropical gyres in the ocean (hence the non-profit’s name!) and, in 2011, 5 Gyres discovered evidence of plastic in all of them. Since then, they have been studying how plastic travels to these gyres and the effects it has on marine ecosystems, wildlife and human health.

#BeadFree

Buffalo Exchange, HQ, 5 Gyres, Broken plastic on beach

5 Gyres may be relatively new, beginning in 2009, but they’ve been at the forefront of major environmental challenges and accomplishments. A notable example is the 2015 U.S. ban on plastic microbeads – tiny pieces of plastic found in cosmetics that you can’t see or filter out. Thanks to their research on plastic pollution and their #BeadFree campaign, the sale and manufacturing of these plastic microbeads are now banned in the United States.

Moving Towards a Plastic Pollution Solution

Buffalo Exchange, HQ, 5 Gyres, Plastic trawl

Current 5 Gyres programs include their TrawlShare, Plastics BAN (Better Alternatives Now) List and Mi Mar educational initiative, just to name a few. Through their Trawlshare program, they engage citizen scientists and are able to broaden their data collection on marine plastic pollution. Their Plastics BAN List gives consumers the chance to learn about the materials they regularly use and provides options for better alternatives to plastic.

One of their newest initiatives, Mi Mar, or My Sea in Spanish, is a program that encourages underserved high school students to learn about plastic pollution through one-day research expeditions off the coast of L.A. Through their programming, they work to spread awareness about the issue, create community engagement and spark ideas for long-term solutions.

BYOB!

Buffalo Exchange, HQ, 5 Gyres, Reusable bags

Like what you hear? Support 5 Gyres and their mission to reduce plastic pollution by shopping our Earth Day $1 Day Sale this April! To minimize plastic use and maximize your clothing carrying capacity, be sure to bring your own reusable bag to the sale (or buy one of ours, made from 70% recycled bottles)! Don’t forget that the sale is cash only and that $1 items go quickly, so plan to arrive at the store early! For opening hours, check your local Buffalo Exchange. To learn more about 5 Gyres and find out other ways to get involved with this year’s Earth Day $1 Day Sale beneficiary, visit 5gyres.org.


Buffalo Exchange Fantasy Football Draft

The Surprising Wisdom of Fantasy Football

By Joe Carrel, Buffalo Exchange HQ

You don’t have to be a sports fan to know that, come fall, the biggest American sport is football. And right up there with the gridiron pastimes of tailgating and face-painting is the growing activity of fantasy football. Even if you know zilch about it, chances are you know someone who does. Over 40 million people across the US will unleash their pigskin nerd this season, and I’ll show you why these seemingly kooky folks may just be onto something.

For those unfamiliar with fantasy football, here’s the painless fifteen second breakdown: like kids picking teams on the playground, participants in a fantasy league (usually 10 or 12 people) pick real life pro football players for their team. Then, as the actual games are played, they accumulate points for the running, catching, and passing feats of their players. The more points they get, the better their chances of winning.

Some friends talked me into joining their fantasy league, and I figured it would be a harmless diversion, one of those arbitrary activities that give adults a reason to  hang out for a bit, like bowling or karaoke. What I absolutely did not figure was that this meaningless little game would crystalize and reinforce some of life’s most important lessons for me in a way that few other experiences have. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but just hear me out.

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Buffalo Exchange Mural Artwork in Tucson

Be a Tourist in Your Own Town

By Joe Carrel, Buffalo Exchange HQ

Every city has that one part of town. The part that seems to have a bit more personality than the rest – the one where creative folks are free to do their thing. But usually those imaginative pockets are overlooked by the residents of the city at large, appreciated more by out-of-town visitors. My suggestion? Every once in a while, take on the mindset of those visitors and be a tourist your own town.

Buffalo Exchange Tucson Artwork

Timing is Everything

Unfortunately, artsy areas are often in an older, more congested part of the city. The key is to go during off hours – early on weekend mornings or, even better, a holiday. I woke up surprisingly early on the 4th of July and decided to stroll through downtown Tucson, AZ. While it may not be the bustling metropolis that your city is, I was shocked at how few people I saw. I half expected a tumbleweed roll by. If only for a little while, the place felt like it was mine.

Buffalo Exchange Tucson Artwork Murals

Be a Tourist in Your Own Town & Make New Discoveries

For my morning of hometown tourism, I brought up a map of downtown murals, parked the car, applied some sunscreen and started walking. Good tunes flowed through my earbuds and, without the usual car or foot traffic in the way, opportunities for interesting photos were plentiful. I also made sure to take note of new (or new-to-me) shops and restaurants that I wanted to check out in the future.

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Buffalo Exchange Standup Anwar Newton

Sit Down with Standup Anwar Newton

By Joe Carrel, Buffalo Exchange HQ

We spoke with Anwar Newton, a standup comic based in Phoenix, AZ, about finding your voice, the changing landscape of comedy and creating Literally the Worst Show Ever.

The Path to Becoming Funny

Was comedy something you always wanted to do?

Not at all, really. But people were always telling me I should do standup, so I went and hung out at an open mic – just sat in the back for several months. Eventually I saw one too many comedians that I thought I was funnier than. I thought, “If this guy can do it, anybody can.”

What was your first time on stage like?

A nightmare. It’s a wonder that I’m still doing it. I left feeling like, “This was the worst thing that has ever happened on this stage… at this bar… in this city!” There should have been some beacon of humanity to walk up to me and say, “Go give your day job your all. Get promoted. Invest in your 401k. Have a plan.”

What kept you coming back?

I learned that you don’t really understand how to be funny until you have enough failure under your belt. You think that you’d get better by constantly making people laugh, and the more laughs mean you’re getting funnier. But actually it’s the utter failures, the complete dejection of just crashing and burning – those feelings of despair you take off the stage really start to mold you into a great performer. And not just in comedy. It applies to a lot of performance art. Being at the very bottom helps you pull something genuinely magical out – something truly unique that people can really attach themselves to.

Was there a certain performance where it finally seemed to click?

I had agreed to appear at a friend’s out-of-town amateur standup showcase. I was broke, with rent due soon, and wound up having to turn down multiple good-paying shows so that I could be there. After a couple hours of driving to the venue, I was super frustrated, but there was no place for that frustration to go. I got onstage and grabbed the mic, not knowing which of my jokes – that I was already sick of telling – I was going to begin with. And I just stood there for about ten seconds.

Then I immediately started talking about something that was so controversial and on the top of everybody’s mind. I felt a certain way about it and just laid it out. That raw emotion made it genuinely relatable and funny. Afterwards people were like, “Dude, that is the funniest take on that issue I have ever heard.” It was this eureka moment. We always talk, me and other comedians I’m close to, that you get to the point where you stop telling jokes and you start just being funny.

Buffalo Exchange Sit Down with Anwar Newton

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Buffalo Exchange DIY Art

Brighten Things Up with DIY Art

By Joe Carrel, Buffalo Exchange HQ

White, cream or beige. Wherever you call home, chances are your walls wear one of these shades of neutral. Ah, but if you listen, you can hear those walls, just screaming for a pop of color. A vibrant, monster-sized painting – that would certainly do the trick. But who has the money for that? Luckily, there’s a better option. And yes, dear friend, that option is you. What’s that, you say? You’re no artist? With DIY Art, it doesn’t matter one bit.

The Ikea-ization of today’s modern furnishings have made clean, simple lines the style of the day. The artistic form that embodies this style is Minimalism – which, luckily for us, is a piece of cake to replicate (seriously, read on and I’ll show you).

Buffalo Exchange DIY Art

Plan of Attack

The first thing you need is something to paint on. There are multiple ways you can go. You can hit up a chain craft supply store that has 50% off coupons on a weekly basis and buy yourself a big ‘ol canvas. Or you can acquire an inexpensive painting at a thrift store and shamelessly paint right over it. Heck, you can even repurpose scrap building supplies (a discarded door can make for a cool painting surface).

Next, you need to settle upon a design. A quick dive into “minimalist painters” will get the wheels turning, but really, as long as you keep it simple, most any design you can conjure should fit the bill. Straight lines are key here, since painter’s tape will be doing the heavy lifting. Now think about the colors you want to use. Look around the room and see if the existing furnishings give you clues. You want a painting that adds pop, but you don’t want it to seem out of place.

Buffalo Exchange DIY Art Set Up

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Buffalo Exchange Sounding Smarter

1 Simple Tip to Sounding Smarter

by Joe Carrel, Buffalo Exchange HQ

Let’s get one thing straight: you’re already a smart person (you shop at Buffalo, so of course). But we can all agree that there is a difference between being smart and sounding smart. The path from frontal lobe to tip of the tongue is short but slippery. Even our most insightful ideas can land with a thud. It’s all about packaging – the words we choose to convey our point. And, if you’re like me, we can become a bit lazy when it comes to those words we choose, often grabbing the closest term in our mental cupboard.

Scrabble Revelations

Recently, while playing Scrabble with friends, I added a twist to the rules: we could only play words that everyone agreed we personally might use in everyday conversation. My thinking was that it would eliminate those tedious dictionary dives to answer the age old Scrabble question, “Is that REALLY a word?” The rule change was effective in speeding up the game, but also had the unintended side effect of highlighting how limited our conversational vocabularies were.

Fortunately, if we crack open the communication toolbox we’ll find an easy-to-use jumper cable that can spark us back into sounding like the smart people we are.

Say the Magic Word

So what’s the magic word? The one that will raise our perceived IQ to that of a pipe-smoking, elbow patch-sporting, British accent-wielding professor? There is none. However, to get back into smart-sounding shape, we can start by eliminating a single word from our conversational diet.Full Story


How to Start a Podcast: Beer-powered Podcasting

by Joe Carrel, Buffalo Exchange HQ

We chatted with Portlander (and longtime Buffalo employee) Gary Hanson about how to start a podcast and find out all about his homegrown technology podcast, I’ll Have a Beer and Talk.

BUFFALO

Let’s start with your path to Buffalo Exchange…

I like to know a little bit about most everything and I’ve had a varied career. Coincidentally, a video store I helped open in Cambridge, Massachusetts closed and became a Buffalo Exchange.

I started with the Buff in Portland in 2008. I like that the Store Administrative Assistant position allows me to use pretty much every random skill I’ve gathered and apply them in a way that makes everyone’s lives easier.

How to start a podcast

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