Working Artists Labs

Working Artists Labs are designed to allow Buffalo artists, UB students, faculty, and visiting artists to develop new work and collaborate across disciplines. Leading figures in the arts are invited by the Arts Collaboratory to engage with the UB and Buffalo arts communities, and over the course of a semester, UB students learn what it’s like to be out in the world as a working artist.

This course aims to bring together a “company” of students. Company here is understood as a group of students who come together, united with a shared purpose to work, learn, provide friendship and enjoyment in sight of fulfilling a shared purpose. The shared purpose of this course is to deepen our understanding and commitment to conflict resolution.

Buffalo-born-and-raised multidisciplinary artist Asad Raza has been commissioned by Front International 2022: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art to create a multipart artwork that involves outdoor sculpture, sailing and song. Over seven intensive weeks, Working Artists Lab participants will conduct creative research and engage in hands-on art-making alongside Asad and his collaborators. The entire project will be informed by the history of the region, its indigenous inhabitants and its present-day environmental challenges.

In the Fall of 2021, the University at Buffalo Arts Collaboratory Working Artists Lab worked with hip-hop legend Grandmaster Flash and various artists in the field to dig deep into how hip-hop has cultivated stories through collaboration. Over the course of several weeks, University at Buffalo and Buffalo State College students, together with Buffalo-area artists, built upon their stories through the foundational teachings and practices of hip-hop.

In Spring 2021, our Working Artists Lab was led by renowned painter Cecily Brown in partnership with Artist/City, Bortolami, NYC. Cecily collaborated with a group of artists, accompanying them out of their studios and classrooms and onto the streets of the city to create a mural intended for all of Buffalo.

The Fall 2020 Working Artists Lab centered on the magnetic impresario, Michael Mwenso, of Mwenso and the Shakes, who specializes in musical code-switching, freely adopting and repurposing the drama, whimsy and spirit of the Great American Songbook, African beats, funk, modern jazz, dance pop, Delta blues and cabaret theater with equal, effortless verve.

UB alumnus Alan Zweibel, a five-time Emmy Award-winning original writer for Saturday Night Live, inaugurated the Working Artists Lab in Spring 2020, collaborating with Bronwyn Keenan, Director for the Arts Collaboratory, and Maria S. Horne, Associate Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance.