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Despite pandemic, art scene continues to inspire creative outlet in WNY

Buffalo String Works' executive director says 96% of students in their after school program are coming to virtual classes and they had an increase in enrollment.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — While it may seem at times the arts have disappeared during the pandemic, it is far from true.

Take the Buffalo String Works (BSW) for example.

"We haven't stopped. We didn't stop when the pandemic hit, we switched right away to virtual programming. We knew that our students and our families, they wanted music in their lives no matter what," said executive director Yuki Numata Resnick.

So much so, that 96 percent of students show up to their after school virtual music classes during the pandemic. 

The nonprofit also saw an increase in students signing up for their programs, which Resnick says just goes to show there's still a need more than ever for finding a creative outlet. 

"It's really something that we think brings our kids together, brings our families together, it brings our whole city together because we can all celebrate music together and rally behind our families and be this source of joy and celebration," Resnick said.

Because of the political unrest in Myanmar right now, BSW has started a video series for many of their students' parents.

The nonprofit also continues to hold virtual concerts.

There's also no shortage of expression over at the Albright Knox Northland location, where they're opening up a new exhibit Friday. It's called "Comunidades Visibles: the Materiality of Migration," featuring the works of Latinx artists who immigrated to the U.S.

"Since Buffalo is a very diverse city, I'm so glad to be here. I think this work also speak about it and how important it is to be in this place," said Felipe Shibuya, an artist in the show.

"Especially in this pandemic moment when we're really kind of living isolated lives to recognize actually how much we can enrich one another is vital," added Andrea Alvarez, territorial assistant at Albright Knox. 

There are also a lot of virtual programming for those who aren't local or aren't comfortable coming for in-person exhibits at the art gallery.

Even during a pandemic, art still can challenge our thinking and finding ways to unite us.

"It's about being part of this community that values each other and value each others hearts and souls," Resnick said.

It's also managing to show us the beauty of the human spirit too.