4,000 attended art show at former Medina High School

Photo by Tom Rivers: Claire Ashley of Chicago created the large inflatables in the gym at the former Medina High School during the PLAY/GROUND art show from Friday to Sunday. There were also art stations and family activities available to try in the gym. Ashley calls her installation piece, “Celestial Boulders (Unseen Organs).” She likes to transform mundane materials into inflatable painted sculptures and performative props.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 September 2019 at 12:29 pm

MEDINA – The PLAY/GROUND art show at the former Medina High School attracted 4,100 people from Friday through Sunday, more than double the attendance during the event’s debut last year.

The immersive art experience included works by 34 artists, who encouraged people to interact with the pieces.

Talis Equity and the Hungerford family worked to put on the show with Resource: Art in Buffalo. The school is currently mostly vacant and will be turned into apartments. Right now Talis and the Hungerford family are working to redevelop Bent’s Opera House.

The preview party on Friday was sold out with 750 people, many coming by shuttle from the Hotel Henry in Buffalo.

“There is excitement in the air,” said Medina artist Tom Zangerle, who attended the show on Saturday afternoon. “This is just fantastic.”

In “Newton’s Clock,” artist Michael Bosworth used the elements of a pinball machine to create a series of interactive works.

Amanda Besl set up “Persphone,” an ethereal forgotten greenhouse at the bottom of the stairs. “Are the contents languishing within or bursting to escape their confines?” participants were asked.

In “Rolling Thunder,” by Tom Holt and Quincy Koczka, skateboarding ramps were painted and turned into artwork.

Sara Di Donato painted life-size images of girls from different eras for “If These Walls Could Talk.” The installation was in a bathroom. Di Donato, a painting and drawing professor at Brockport State College, wanted to show “the performance of girlhood in the present is a reverberating echo of the past, yet constantly fluid and changing.”

Kari Achatz made “Betwixt,” patterned passageways and shadows. She wanted participants “to be seen and unseen at the same moment.”

“Into the Void”  was a popular installation, with many people posting images of the space on social media. William Quintana and Christa Trautman made a set of six telescoping, brightly colored boxes to replace the traditional four walls. “The bright hues are meant to entice users to explore the space further and immerse themselves in the unknown well of color.”

People check out “Medina Green,” by artist Nate Hodge of Brockport, in a former locker room in the school.

The art show included a Medina artist, Kathryn Granchelli. She created a Zen garden-like  installation. She filled the room with sand and paper-clay sculptures. She said the exhibit was inspired by her travels in the deserts. She runs a nanny referral agency for families in New York City, Los Angeles and abroad. She is also is an accomplished artist.

Granchelli welcomed the chance to be part of PLAY/GROUND in her hometown.

“I really think it’s great for Medina to experience something outside the norm,” she said.

Ani Hoover created the “Shade Garden” in a stairwell. She made the display out of plastic bags, thrifted lampshades and lighting hardware. She sought to take neglected materials and transform them into “an unconventional oasis of light and shadow.”

Julian Montague expanded on the murals in the hallways he started last year.

People check out “Safe Space,” created with cardboard and white plaster by Rich Tomasello with help from 150 students at Kenmore, Town of Tonawanda and Starpoint schools. The installation addresses the anxieties of growing up in American schools where lockdrown drills are commonplace.

Marquis Burton and Tara Sasiadek’s “Wave and Shore” installation was popular. The artists encouraged participants to pause and take in fresh sensations.

Carina and the Six String Preacher perform in the auditorium at the school on Saturday afternoon. Musicians performed in the space over the weekend.

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