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!