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Not Your Average Thrift Store: The History of Buffalo Exchange Featured Story

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By Jessica Pruitt

In 1974, when Kerstin Block first had the idea for a different sort of secondhand shop, she never expected it to grow into what it is today – she just followed her love of thrift store shopping. “I came upon the idea that there must be other people who are equally addicted to this kind of shopping, but who didn’t want to sort through as much stuff.” Enter a whole new business model – a resale shop where customers could buy hand-picked treasures in one place and also sell their clothes for cash or trade on-the-spot.

Not Your Average Thrift Store - History of Buffalo Exchange - Kerstin outside first location

From Thrift Store to Resale Boutique: The First Buffalo Exchange

At the time, Kerstin had recently been fired from a job at a local furniture shop. When she mentioned that she’d like to try opening her own business, her husband Spencer was all for it. To start, they rented out a small 400 square foot spot in Tucson, AZ and filled the store with pieces from Kerstin’s own closet. They also asked friends to bring things in. Soon enough, they had a bustling business buying, selling and trading the likes of denim skirts handmade by Kerstin, Hawaiian shirts and Kork-Ease sandals, drawing in lots of students from the University of Arizona. Their most common price? $3.50.

Not Your Average Thrift Store - History of Buffalo Exchange - Kerstin holding clothing

Originally from Sweden, Kerstin chose “Buffalo” because she liked the way it evoked the American West. Spencer contributed the “Exchange” half of the name since that’s precisely what they would be doing – opening up a shop where you could exchange your clothing for cash or trade on-the-spot, an uncommon model at the time. And just like that, they ran the business together, doing everything themselves. Kerstin was the face of the store, running the register and doing all the buying. Spencer worked behind the scenes, creating clothing racks out of water pipes and handling the accounting.

Resale wasn’t very popular at the time, but they knew there would always be people who wanted to find something cute for a good deal: they just didn’t necessarily want to dig through so many pieces in a thrift store setting. “We made it look like a little boutique,” says Kerstin. They handpicked each item based on what their customers were interested in buying and displayed them in a fun, easy-to-shop space.

Not Your Average Thrift Store - History of Buffalo Exchange - Spencer and Kerstin inside store 1977

Charting New Territory

Kerstin and Spencer didn’t know much about business, but they weren’t afraid to venture into uncharted territory. Par for the course for Kerstin, who struck out on her own at the age of 18, taking a boat over from Sweden to study at the University of Arizona. What they initially lacked in business knowledge, they made up for in strong values. “We built our business on a lot of principles,” she says, “such as respecting people and treating everybody fairly and listening to people. Those are our tenets in business.”

Not Your Average Thrift Store - History of Buffalo Exchange - Staff in front of store mid 70s

As they opened more locations – a store here and a store there – those tenets only grew. They knew how important it was to be honest and the value of people – both employees and customers alike. After all, they relied on their customers to bring in clothing and they relied on their employees to build a diverse inventory. To do this, they valued individuality and embraced the things that make each person unique. They empowered people, taking into consideration what they wanted out of the job and teaching them how the business works.

Perhaps it’s these tenets (not to mention a true passion for clothing) that have kept the business going strong for 45 years and counting. Today, Buffalo Exchange is still owned and operated out of Tucson, AZ by Kerstin and her daughter, Vice President Rebecca Block. Kerstin still oversees the daily operations of the business. “What I’m most proud of is how much we’ve been able to empower people – especially women,” she says. “That and the clothes. It’s always been about the clothes.” Now, that love for fashion has spread to around 50 stores – and growing all the time. Visit BuffaloExchange.com/Locations to find one near you!

 

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Shopping and Social Distancing: How to Shop Safely at Buffalo Exchange

How to Shop at Buffalo Exchange: The New Normal Collage

Whether you recently made an appointment to drop off your closet cleanout and now have a digital trade card burning a hole in your inbox or you’re just coveting a closet refresh, Buffalo Exchange is open for all your secondhand shopping needs! Our stores have adapted to the new world of social distancing and we’ve implemented some new guidelines to keep shopping secondhand safe for everyone. Read ahead for everything you need to know about the new normal of shopping at Buffalo Exchange! 

Here’s the TL DR  of what’s new in our stores:

  • Stores have reduced hours and limit the number of shoppers.
  • Masks are required! 
  • Socially distance and keep 6 feet between yourself and others.
  • Dressing rooms are closed (for now), but our exchange policy is extended
  • We offer contactless payment like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay (cash and card still accepted!)

Buffalo Exchange Nashville Storefront Sign We Ask Kindly That You Wear a Mask

Wear a Mask!

Before you head into your local Buffalo, keep in mind that many of our stores have reduced hours and are allowing a limited number of shoppers in at a time, so be sure to check your local Buffalo Exchange’s store hours. Once you’re good to go, remember to grab your mask! This is important and helps keep our stores safe: masks are required for customers and store employees alike, and must be worn covering your nose and your mouth through the duration of your time in the store.

Buffalo Exchange Tempe Sign Please Maintain Social Distancing

Maintain Social Distancing

While you’re shopping around, please be mindful of others and do your best to keep the recommended 6 feet of space between yourself and your fellow shoppers. This may mean doubling back to check out a super cute top you saw on a rounder where someone else was shopping, but we want everyone to feel comfortable and uncrowded while they browse around for those one-of-a-kind finds Buffalo Exchange is known for. We’ll have social-distancing reminders posted around the store, but feel free to reach out to an employee if another customer isn’t giving you the space you need!

Buffalo Exchange Tempe Customer Wearing Mask Holding Buffalo Exchange bag

New Protocols for Trying On 

For the time being, our dressing rooms are closed — a bummer for those of us who love a good shopping montage, we know! But bear with us, we’ve extended our exchange policy to a full 10 days. With extra time to try on at home, you can say “yes!” to that dress or bring it back to return for store credit. Just remember to hold on to your receipt and keep the tags attached! As usual, sale items are still non-returnable.

For shoes and accessories, you’re still able to try on in-store — just place the items that don’t work out into the designated baskets, next to the shoe racks or on top of the jewelry counters. From there, our employees will sanitize the items before they’re placed back onto the sales floor.

Buffalo Exchange Tempe Customer Checking Out with Contactless Payment Options

Checking Out With Your Finds 

When you’re ready to purchase, you may notice things look a little different at the register: we’ve installed sneeze guards at checkout (and buy counters) as an extra safeguard. Once it comes time for payment, you can choose contactless payment methods like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and tap-to-pay credit cards. Don’t have one of these? We are still accepting credit cards and cash. Need to enter a pin? To reduce contact, we have disposable cotton swabs for you to use instead of pushing buttons directly on the card terminals. 

That’s it! With these new safety protocols in addition to a whole new way for customers to sell their closet cleanouts, we’re excited to welcome everyone back for some sustainable shopping. We appreciate all the support we received from the community and can’t wait to see you all back in the store again soon!

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Category: Uncategorized

Convenient, Contact-Free Selling: The New Way to Sell Your Closet Cleanout at Buffalo Exchange

New Way to Sell at Buffalo Exchange - 2 Employees Wearing Masks and Holding a We're Open Sign

We’ve been super excited to welcome all our customers into the store again, but reopening safely has been our priority, so we have a handful of new guidelines in place to help us buy, sell and trade responsibly for the good of our customers, employees and public health at large! Along with regular sanitation, sneeze guards at counters and mandatory face masks for everyone in the store, we’ve made some updates to the buying process. Whether you spent your quarantine reorganizing your entire wardrobe or you just did a quick closet edit, now’s the time to bring in your cleanout!  Read ahead to learn everything you need to know about the new way of selling at Buffalo Exchange.

  • Step 1: Call your local Buffalo to make a drop-off appointment!
  • Step 2: Limit your cleanout to 50 items and let them sit for 24 hours
  • Step 3: Grab your mask & your ID and head to your drop-off appointment
  • Step 4: Within a few days, get paid via Venmo, PayPal or a Digital Trade Card!

Buffalo Exchange We're Open - Gal Wearing Yellow Dress and Matching Face Mask in Front of Buffalo Exchange Store

Buffalo Exchange Employee Wearing Face Mask & Taking a Phone Call

Setting Up Your Appointment to Sell

First things first: give your local Buffalo a quick call to set up an appointment for dropping off your closet cleanout. To start, we’re buying by drop-off appointments only – the good news is that this means no waiting in line and no waiting while we look through your items! While you’re on the phone with us, it’s the perfect opportunity to chat with your Buyer about what they’re currently buying or ask any lingering questions you might have about the new selling process. Once you’ve gotten your appointment secured, you’re ready to move onto the fun part: cleaning out your closet!

Buffalo Exchange Cute Closet Being Cleaned Out

Should it Stay or Should it Go? Collecting Your Closet Cleanout

Right now, we’re asking everyone to limit the number of items you’re selling to 50 (including shoes, bags, jewelry etc). Once your bag or box is filled with 50 or less items, set it and forget it: leave them to sit untouched for at least 24 hours before your appointment. At some of our stores, any items we’re unable to buy will be donated, so check with your local Buffalo Exchange in advance.

Buffalo Exchange Employe Wearing a Face Mask to Accept a Clothing Drop-Off

Buffalo Exchange Employee Wearing a Face Mask & Pushing a Basket of Clothing

Dropping Off Your Clothing

When it’s time for your appointment, grab your ID (Driver’s License or Passport is ideal) and your face mask and head into the store. Once you’re there, a Buyer will greet you, check your ID and transfer your items into a labelled box with your name. This will sit behind our counters, untouched over night. With these precautions, your buy may take up to three days to process — we’ll call you when we’re done to let you know your payment options!

Buffalo Exchange Buyer Wearing a Face Mask Behind a Sneeze Guard Buying Clothing

Getting Paid and Cashing Out

Getting paid for your cleanout is now more convenient than ever. Instead of receiving cash or a physical trade card, you’ll receive contactless payment through PayPal or Venmo. If you decide to take the store credit, we’ll send you a Digital Trade Card (which never expires, just like the traditional card)! 

2 Buffalo Exchange Employees Wearing Face Masks at Store Entrance

We know that selling your closet cleanout isn’t quite the same as it used to be – for that, we want to say thank you, thank you, thank you for your patience and understanding! Our protocols are evolving as we go, so stay tuned. Staying a little closer to home for now? You can also sell your closet cleanout through our Sell By Mail program. Just request a prepaid shipping bag online, send it in and get paid!

 

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Category: Uncategorized

We’re Open!

We're Open Image with Airplane Buy-Sell-Trade

Grab your face mask and stop in to update your wardrobe for summer or make an appointment to drop off your closet cleanout! We have a variety of safety protocols in place – including daily health screenings and temperature checks for all employees.

A new shopping experience:

  • Masks required for customers and employees
  • Reduced hours (12-6pm at most locations) & limited number of shoppers
  • Contactless payment options available for shoppers
  • Dressing room closure and return policy extension
  • Social distancing in-store
  • Regular sanitation

Sell your closet cleanout conveniently and contact-free:

  • Appointment required for selling – drop-off only (call to make an appointment)
  • Please limit your cleanout to 50 items & allow them to sit for 24 hours, untouched, before dropping them off
  • Items will sit overnight before being looked through – your items may take up to 3 days to process
  • No on-the-spot selling or cash payments – Choose contactless payout options through PayPal, Venmo or a Digital Trade Card
  • As always, remember to bring your ID when you drop off your clothing!
  • At this time, any items we’re unable to purchase will be donated.

Open Locations:
12-6pm Monday-Sunday

Colorado Franchise:
Open 11am-6pm Monday-Sunday. In-person selling allowed by appointment for Colorado locations

City not listed? Stay tuned! More locations reopening soon.

Thank you for the continued support while we reopen our doors! We’re determined to provide a livelihood for our employees for many years to come and be a sustainable fashion resource in our communities – being able to reopen makes that a possibility again. A special thanks to our devoted team and the community. We’ll see you all very soon. 

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6 Tips to Sell Clothes Online with Buffalo Exchange Sell By Mail

Close up of bag to sell clothes online with lavender-colored block heels, grapefruit clutch and stack of clothing

With Buffalo Exchange Sell By Mail, it’s easier than pie to sell clothes online – no photographing items, listing them out, waiting for them to sell and making tons of trips to the post office. Just load your cleanout into the prepaid U.S.shipping bag and send it off. Within a few weeks of us receiving it, you’ll have the choice between a Paypal payout or trade to use at your fav Buffalo Exchange store.

Sell By Mail Request a Bag Web Page on Laptop to Sell Clothes Online with Planner and Central Perk Coffee Mug

Request a Bag Online

First things first, request a Sell By Mail kit online! We’ll send you a prepaid U.S.shipping bag and info about what to pack so you can easily sell clothes online. Once you have the bag, it’s convenient to clean out on your own schedule.

Living room with clothing and accessories hung and laid out across the floor and chairs in preparation to sell clothes online

Clean Out Your Closet the KonMari Way

Start by taking everything out of your closet (yes, everything) and giving the inside a once-over with a dust cloth (trust us – you’ll be glad you took the extra effort when your closet is sparkling clean at the end of this process). Then, go through each item. If it sparks joy immediately AND you know you’ll actually wear it, hang it right back up in the closet. As you go through this process, make sure to store out-of-season items and organize your clothing and shoes so that you can see everything. If you can’t see it, you probably won’t end up wearing it.

An example of the types of clothes you can sell online - beige overalls with color block tee and sneakers and mustard yellow newbody cap and lavender-colored backpack An example of the types of clothes you can sell online - Levi's jeans, red sweatshirt, high top sneakers, graphic t-shirt and wide-brimmed Western hat

Keep It or Sell It?

For everything else, start trying things on! Make sure you LOVE the way it fits and that you’re still excited about wearing it. Do you have similar pieces that you wear more often? It may be time to sell it!

Girl with brown hair sitting on bed holding up a blouse as she packs up clothing into a bag to sell clothes online

How to Decide to Sell Clothes Online or Donate Locally

As you pack up your bag, give everything a once-over to make sure it’s still in spic-and-span condition. Before our Sell By Mail team buys an item in, they look it over closely for spots, unintentional holes, pilling, fading, broken zippers, missing buttons, so pull anything out that’s not in excellent condition and put it into a bag to donate to a local non-profit.

Buffalo Exchange Sell By Mail bag in front of yellow door with potted plants - the owner of this home is ready to sell clothes online

Ready to Ship!

Once your bag is all packed up, drop it off at the U.S.store. Pro tip: Sign up for text message alerts to find out when your kit’s on the way, when your bag has been received and when we’re all done looking through your cleanout.

Sell Clothes Online bag and info sheet with snakeskin booties, orange earrings, beige sweater, burgundy shirt and Rayban sunglasses

Sell By Mail takes the best of all seasons, year-round, so feel free to send in fantastic pieces for warm and cold weather alike. There are a few things we’re unable to purchase, though – children’s clothing and accessories, swimwear, maternity, intimates and undergarments, sleepwear, counterfeits, fur, bridal wear or pieces from more affordable department stores like Walmart, Kmart, Kohl’s, Sears or JCPenney. We’re also unable to take home goods like sheets and towels.

Girl holding a pile of clothing at Clothing for the Community $1 Sale A large number of people shopping at a Clothing for the Community $1 Sale

Feel Even Better About Your Cleanout! 

While you can opt to have any items Buffalo Exchange is unable to buy returned to you for a $14.99 shipping fee, most Sell By Mailers choose to donate their unpurchased clothing and accessories to Buffalo Exchange’s Clothing for the Community program. Through this program, Southern Arizona non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations can apply to receive large clothing donations. Charities can use this donation of clothing and accessories to generate money for their organization by hosting a $1 Sale. We’re ready to coach charities through this process by providing support, advice, local promotion and, of course, the inventory. Variations of this program have raised $57,266 since 2015.

Sell Clothes Online Envelope with stack of women's clothing on bed

The Buffalo Exchange experience goes beyond the walls of our stores. Our Sell By Mail program brings selling options straight to your home so you can quickly and easily sell clothes online, do good for the community and get paid for cleaning out your closet. Win, win and win. After all that, we think you deserve a shopping spree… ready to give it a try? Request your prepaid shipping bag today!

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Category: Uncategorized

Thinking Of You

Thinking of You Mural by Alex Coronel at Buffalo Exchange Austin

 

Hey Buffalos.

We’re thinking of you and just wanted to ask, How are you doing? It’s been just over a month since we made the tough decision to temporarily close our stores and we want to give a shout out to all of our customers and employees for the love and support during this time. 

The days do feel long while we patiently wait and watch what each new week brings. Behind the scenes, we’re hard at work planning our reopening with the safety of all of you in mind. We miss you all and can’t wait to see you walk through our doors again. In the meantime, here’s a poem we wrote for you. 

Roses are red
Violets are blue
I’m ready to sell clothes
To all my Buffalos

Stay in touch with us by following @BuffaloExchange on Instagram. Cleaning out? You can still sell your clothes through Buffalo Exchange Sell By Mail! Request a bag online today.

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Down-South Dapper: Meet Torrance Taylor

By Aarian Frye & Denise Lyons

New Orleans native Torrance Taylor has been shopping at Buffalo Exchange NOLA since 2006. Just like the iconic city around him, Torrance’s sense of style has evolved into something totally unique and undeniably Southern. Read ahead to learn more about where Torrance finds his fashion inspiration and why he loves Buffalo Exchange!

Suiting Up: Torrance’s Fashion Background 

Torrance was 14 years old when he realized he had a penchant for fashion. Growing up, some of his style icons were George Jefferson, Geoffrey Holder, Slick Rick and the original cast of Dynasty. Today, Torrance describes his style as “modern, ethnic, vintage with a dressier flare.”

What’s on His Fashion Wishlist? 

Presently, Torrance finds himself drawn to houndstooth, camouflage and African wax prints with batik-inspired designs — he’s also excited about the London Fog x Jeremy Scott collaboration, and hopes to add animal-print trench coats into his collection. Although he has a strong love of bold patterns, Torrance says that his favorite outfit is a simple and refined combination of cropped tailored pants and a timeless pewter blazer.

Why He Loves Shopping at Buffalo 

When we asked Torrance about what makes shopping at Buffalo Exchange so special, he tells us that “Buffalo carries things that no other store in New Orleans has. It’s one of the main ways I discover emerging brands.” He also says that it’s “a great way to revamp your closet” and always has a surprise in store: “During the 40th Anniversary Trailer Tour, I found a vintage Neiman Marcus printed jacket that I still wear.”

Torrance’s Number One Style Tip

For anyone working to refine their style, Torrance has this bit of advice: “Celebrate your youth, no matter your age. Establish your personality, and then your personal style. Create your own costumes and outfits that reflect who you are or want to be.” 

Has Torrance’s advanced style has inspired you to elevate your look? Get started on your style journey at your local Buffalo Exchange! With 51 locations across the country, there are boundless ways to express yourself through personal style. Before you go, don’t forget to bring in your closet cleanout — Buffalo Exchange buys clothing for all seasons year round, and those great pieces sitting in your closet could turn into cash or trade.

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Shopping Sustainably with Bethany Easterling

Bethany Easterling: Style profile

By Marcella Willden; Photography by Audrey Easterling

Based out of Dallas, Bethany Easterling is a long-time Buffalo Exchange shopper. Go figure since she’s passionate about both fashion and sustainability! Bethany’s forward-looking lifestyle and impeccable sense of fashion are just a few reasons we are totally obsessed with her. Read ahead to find out more about her take on personal style and why she loves shopping secondhand.

Bethany with blue sweater and hatFull Story

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

Buffalo Exchange, Arts Award, Allison Miller, Bryan Falcon

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!

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Meet Buffalo Exchange Customer Stephanie Vega!

Customer Profile: Stephanie Vega

By Savy Kroop, Photography by Vanessa Vega (@vanessavegaphotos)

We recently had the chance to chat with Stephanie Vega, a social media influencer who loves sharing everything from her thrift shopping adventures and exciting theme park visits to her everyday routines. Stephanie’s addictive positivity and flawless style are just a few reasons why we can’t stop watching her videos and obsessing over her perfectly curated Instagram feed! Read ahead for a Q+A about Stephanie’s personal style, her love for Buffalo and a little bit of fashion advice.

Stephanie with pink sweater and jeans

How would you describe your personal style?

Cheerful, quirky and fun with a dash of retro.

What is your favorite trend for right now?

Fanny packs! They’re such a game-changer and so convenient to have.Full Story

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Celebrating 25 Years of the Buffalo Exchange Arts Award!

Buffalo Exchange, HQ. Arts Award, Arts Award Honorees

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.