At Locust Street Art, the students create the curriculum. We’re founded on the belief that each person’s unique artistic vision is valuable, and we do everything we can to help our students develop their skills as well as their passion and perspective. All of our students choose their own subjects from day one and find the best way to make these ideas come to life. Our instructors, accomplished artists themselves, act as mentors, guiding our students to discover their own innate talents and creativity. Students build self-confidence as they work towards their own goals at their own pace, building valuable skills both as artists and as people. It’s also a space where our students will receive enthusiastic praise and encouragement that they might not always find in their everyday lives. While we’re proud to say that some of our students go on to become professional artists, we’re confident that what our students learn at Locust Street Art can help them in the future no matter what they decide to do.
History of Locust Street Art
In 1959, it was a small, neighborhood child’s desire to learn how to paint that sparked the concept for turning a former convent into a place for arts instruction. Ever since, Locust Street Art has been providing free or low-cost art classes to the communities of Buffalo, New York.
In 1980, a generous stream of donations from students’ parents, people around the neighborhood and other supporters allowed us to purchase the convent outright. We added photography classes at the request of our growing body of teen students in the ’80s and have recently added animation and digital media. We’ve also continued to find new opportunities to exhibit the stellar artwork that our students create. This includes our Annual Art Show and many other off-site exhibitions.
We are proud to serve Buffalo and are especially proud to provide a space of exploration and creativity for a diverse array of students, especially those considered to be at-risk or members of marginalized groups. 67% of students are people of color, primarily African American (77% of students ages 4-13). Among the at-risk youth who attend classes, 90% live in zip codes considered low-income and 86% participate in free lunch programs.
We hope to continue to expand into the future so that we can offer free or low-cost art classes to as many people in the Buffalo, NY area as possible. We are always eager to meet new students of any age and skill level and enrollment is ongoing. So, if you are interested in taking classes at Locust Street Art, please contact us or just stop by!