A complex of four buildings that serve as living quarters as well as studio and exhibition space for painters, sculptors, photographers, musicians, and all manner of other artists, the Essex Arts Center has been a mainstay on the West Side for four decades running. The center traces its history back to 1969, when local steel sculptor Larry Griffis and his Ashford Hollow Foundation, which was established three years previously to administer the 400-acre (160 ha) sculpture park he'd established in [[Cattaraugus County]], purchased the former '''Webster-Citizens Company Ice House''' to use as an arts studio and performance venue. The Essex Arts Center immediately attracted to its roster a veritable Who's Who of Buffalo's arts scene of the 1970s and '80s, and over the years it has proven to be an incredibly prolific incubator of institutions that have gone on to become major players in the local arts scene — '''Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center''', the '''CEPA Gallery''', and the dearly missed '''Artists' Committee Gallery''' all got their start at 30 Essex before striking out on their own, and '''Big Orbit Gallery''', founded in 1991 and described below, carries on the tradition at its original location. Besides the gallery, the Essex Arts Center also hosts frequent events such as art auctions, musical performances, and educational workshops and seminars whose proceeds go directly to benefit the local arts community.
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Essex Arts Center
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