The West Falls Center for the Arts is the winner of this year’s Spark Award for Rising Star, an award that honors a relatively new organization, an individual who is new in their position or organization, or a group or artist entering the next phase of their development. The nonprofit organization has provided visual, performing, music, culinary, and healing arts programming to its diverse rural population of West Falls, New York for the last several years, and has become a staple to its community.
The West Falls Center for the Arts offers community events and programs for artists of every level—from amateur to professional—and encourages collaboration between artists at different stages of their careers. Its ongoing programs include its Americana Acoustic Series, where local youth performers open for national talent. It also provides a free blues mentoring series for young musicians, including the Southtowns youth rock band led by Doug Yeomans, the prestigious Southtowns Youth Jazz Orchestra led by Mark Filsinger, and the new Buffalo Jazz Orchestra.
The center also provides free community holiday meals; music clinics; masterclasses; and culinary, art, and music programming to benefit veterans and their families. It has previously received two DEC grants from ASI for a community mural project and harmonica class for veterans. Next year, the center will be adding ukulele and guitar to the veteran’s program.
With support from the Garman Foundation and the Wilson Foundation, the center opened Memory Café, a gathering place that uses music to provide socialization opportunities for caregivers and their loved ones with dementia and Alzheimers.