Portrait of Buffalo II: Images of a Revitalized City
In the 1970s, to celebrate the bicentennial of the United States, the National Endowment for the Arts supported establishing a photographic history of over 70 cities in the US. CEPA was selected as the sponsor for the Buffalo survey, creating a project and exhibition entitled Portrait of Buffalo.
Photographers hired for the project focused on the people of the city and the city itself – a microcosm of what was happening to many industrial cities as jobs were outsourced and industries left. In the 1970s, Buffalo was an industrial city in decline. The photographs taken during this survey reflect a city on the cusp of economic deterioration – closed storefronts, vacant houses, and overgrown parks. Fifty years on, change has been slow and hard-fought. The Buffalo of the 2020s bears little resemblance to its 1970s counterpart.
In 2024, CEPA will capture the change within the city, sending 6 commissioned photographers to the diverse neighborhoods of Buffalo. The hired photographers will find individuals, streets, and businesses that speak to the community, culture, and diversity of the area they are photographing. Photographers will have free reign to capture the city through their eyes; CEPA seeks to recruit photographers with deep connections to the city and the areas they will photograph.
For many years, Buffalo has been deemed a city past its prime – depressed, behind the times, and fading. But the last 10 years have brought about an economic boon, leading to Buffalo’s population increasing for the first time in 70 years. Portrait of Buffalo II will be crucial in helping shift the perception of Buffalo in the Greater Western New York community to a success story – a city that has faced destruction and rebuilt.
Application information coming soon!