World renowned thinker and artist Dr. Leon Botstein swept through the Queen City this month. Those who glimpsed at his genius won’t soon forget.
Botstein, a wearer of many hats, visited Buffalo as a guest conductor to the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, an Open Society Foundations board member, and a lecturer on arts and societal innovation. To the last end, Botstein addressed a rapt crowd at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery on May 8 (photos from that event can be found below).
Armed with a sharp wit and deep historical context, Botstein fearlessly delved into the murkiness of modern democracy, fleeting public funding for the arts, the intersection of hard sciences and creative arts, and even the precarious subject of organized religion. At once, the maestro informed and provoked.
After his talk, Botstein fielded questions from a panel featuring Franchelle Hart (Open Buffalo), Sam Magavern (Partnership for the Public Good), Teresa A. Miller (SUNY Buffalo Law School), and Janne Sirén (Albright-Knox Art Gallery).
Thanks to co-sponsorship by Open Buffalo, Partnership for the Public Good, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the evening brought a unique convergence of orchestral music lovers, visual art aficionados, and seasoned social justice fighters.
In addition to Open Buffalo staffers and board members, Botstein’s audience included representation from OB partner organizations Back to Basics Outreach Ministries, Buffalo Arts Studio, Coalition for Economic Justice, Partnership for the Public Good, Prisoners Are People Too, and Public Accountability Initiative. For those who, like Open Buffalo partners, are committed to fixing powerfully unjust systems for the better, Botstein offered a poignant piece of wisdom:
“The arts can be part of the fabric that helps us come to terms with all of the real problems that we face.”
Indeed, the arts are critical to inspiring and solidifying justice movements. The same is true for the Open Buffalo movement. Stay tuned for future art-themed gatherings by signing up for our periodic updates and news flashes.
Get to know Dr. Leon Botstein better:
- Check out his 2010 spot on The Colbert Report.
- Read this Buffalo News recap of his Albright-Knox lecture here.