Skip Navigation

  1. City Departments
  2. City Services
  3. Online Payments
  4. My Profile
    1. New User Registration
    2. Existing User Login
    3. Schedule Payment Instructions
  5. Meetings

Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2009 Archives > July 2009 > Mayor Brown Announces New Chair Of Buffalo Arts Commission

Mayor Brown Announces New Chair Of Buffalo Arts Commission

Contact: Peter K. Cutler

New appointment will head the Arts Commission and work to further develop Buffalo’s arts community

As part of his continuing effort to develop and support Buffalo’s arts community, Mayor Byron W. Brown has announced the appointment of Catherine Gillespie as chair of the Buffalo Arts Commission. She succeeds Barbra Kavanaugh, who will remain as a board member of the Arts Commission.

“Catherine Gillespie is a passionate advocate for the arts and for expanding public involvement in Buffalo’s cultural community,” said Mayor Brown. “As an artist, Catherine’s major work comes in the form of hand thrown functional stoneware pottery and most recently tiles with vibrant colors and themes from nature. As a current member of the Arts Commission, I am very pleased that she has accepted my request to succeed Barbra Kavanaugh as chair of the Buffalo Arts Commission.”

As chair of the Arts Commission, Ms. Gillespie will join the group founded in 1980 and is made up of 15 volunteer members appointed by both the Mayor and the Common Council president. The Commission is responsible for making annual plans for the expenditure of funds regarding new works of art in the city. They are also accountable for advising the Mayor and Council on beneficial procedures for maintaining the city’s art as well as acquiring new pieces.

“Buffalo has incredibly strong and vibrant arts community which is evident both in its historical treasures and its contemporary working artists,” said Ms. Gillespie.  “One of my personal goals is to increase and enhance the community’s awareness of the depth and quality of the arts in Buffalo.”  

Catherine Gillespie has been running Chatham Pottery for more than 20 years, beginning in Philadelphia, moving to Rochester and now here in Buffalo. Locally, Catherine has been instrumental in the publishing of the Buffalo Niagara Artist and Gallery Guide, produced by Artists in Buffalo Inc every other year. She also organizes the Artists in Buffalo Inc. Holiday Open Studios and Galleries, which is held annually in December. She is a graduate of Tufts University and attended the Boston Fine Arts Museum School,

Currently, the Arts Commission is working to complete the City Hall Observation Desk renovation project as well as restoring the Freedom Memorial on the corner of Grider and Northland. Most recently, the Commission has allocated funds for the maintenance of the public art this summer. Catherine’s addition to the Arts Commission will help it to continue its mission to promote the artistic life of city neighborhoods with particular attention paid to preserving cultural diversity.
In 2008, Mayor Brown reconstituted the dormant Buffalo Arts Commission by appointing Barbra Kavanaugh as chair. The Commission subsequently hired a full-time Executive Director and has continued to expand its role in the arts in Buffalo, particularly art in public spaces.

“On behalf of the residents of our city, I thank Barbra Kavanaugh for her service as chair to the Buffalo Arts Commission,” said Mayor Brown. “Barbra made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Buffalo and to our city. She came in at my request and helped revive the Buffalo Arts Commission and reestablish it as the city’s leading organization dedicated to supporting the arts and advocating for arts throughout our city. I’m very pleased that she will remain as a member of the Commission.”