JazzBuffalo has accepted an invitation to join several Allentown leaders, spearheaded by Mark and Charles Goldman, in the development of a mix-use culture, arts, and performance center. The center will be located in a recently purchased vacant building at 249 Allen Street, which formerly housed Licata Plumbing.
The center will offer a variety of cultural and artistic ventures in the 3,000 square foot building. Plans call for visitors and patrons to be able to view exhibits by artists, peruse through used and new books, listen to a jazz performance, and enjoy eating Belgian Waffles.
JazzBuffalo, an organization dedicated to building jazz awareness and appreciation, will establish the 249 Allen Street Center as its main performance venue. With the center serving as its home-base headquarters for presenting local, regional, and international jazz artists.
“The new 249 Allen Street Center is going to be very exciting for our organization and the jazz community,” said Tony Zambito, executive director of JazzBuffalo. “Since we are developing the center from the ground up, we will have the chance to provide the Buffalo community with an excellent space for listening to jazz. A space acoustically comparable to other fine jazz clubs in the country.”
While JazzBuffalo will maintain its community programming efforts such as the popular Hotel Henry Jazz Concert Series as well as media sponsoring of the Art of Jazz Series, the center will enable the organization to expand into lectures and educational offerings a home-based space affords. The center will also enable featuring multiple-night stands by prominent jazz artists, which can include workshops.
Mark Goldman and Tony Zambito forge together past and future passion for jazz. Goldman’s Calumet Arts Cafe, located on Chippewa Street, presented budding national jazz artists in the 1980s and 1990s. JazzBuffalo has been instrumental in sparking a recent resurgence of jazz in the city, which has included the presenting of local, regional, and international jazz artists.
The performance space will be able to seat approximately 100. Due to the uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected initial jazz concerts will be limited to 25% to 50% of this capacity. With much of the programming of large-scale live jazz curtailed until 2021, especially for audience sizes over 100, JazzBuffalo and the center will seek alternative means for presenting jazz. JazzBuffalo will also support the center’s presentation of classical and acoustic music.
The center will include Goldman’s citizen-based organization, Friends of the Buffalo Story, which will be headquartered in the building. Patrons will also have the convenience of pre-concert or post-concert dining at the adjacent Allen Street Hardware restaurant owned by Goldman.
“We want it to be an inviting place for the community,” said Mark Goldman. “The idea is to offer a gathering place for authors, artists, and musicians.”
Indigo Gallery in Allentown, owned by Elizabeth Samuels and Emily Tucker, will establish a new gallery featuring local artists. Adam Bartley, the former PUSH Buffalo executive director, will open “Fitz Books and Waffles.” Bartley named the cafe for his uncle. It will sell Belgian waffles and offer a cafe-styled menu. Bartley will combine the cafe with a selection of new and used books focused on art, architecture, fiction, poetry, and social movements.
Current plans are hopeful for a fall opening this year. Development will account for short-term and long-term outlooks as the area adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic.