10,000 Maniacs Help Storm-ravaged Griffis Sculpture Park

The August
2009 storms that ravaged the Gowanda and Silver Creek areas also afflicted
major damaged to one of the nation’s most unique arts venues Griffis Sculpture
Park
in Ashford Hollow, NY. The park suffered over $50,000 in damage – with
their driveway and many trails completely washed out.  Since the August
storms, many groups, businesses, and individuals have stepped in to help,
including alternative rockers 10,000 Maniacs who will be headlining a benefit
concert for the park on Saturday, October 24, at the Essex Arts Center at 30
Essex Street, Buffalo.

Also
appearing on the bill is A Potter’s Field and Red Widow – in what will be a
fun, funky warehouse party occurring in two studios inside the Essex Arts
Center. Only 250 tickets will be sold. If you’ve ever been to a Griffis
Sculpture Park or Essex Arts Center event, you know that this will be one event
that you’ll be talking about for days.

The Griffis
Sculpture Park is owned and operated by the Ashford Hollow Foundation. The
organization exists on grants and donations, thus the need for the benefit. The
organization provides arts in education programming for over 4,000 WNY students
each year. The Griffis Sculpture Park is considered to be the United State’s
first and largest sculpture park, with over 250 sculptures located in the
fields, ponds, and forests of the park.

10,000 Maniacs
played an unforgettable benefit concert for the Griffis Sculpture Park in 1991,
when over 5,000 music fans flocked Cattaraugus County park created by Larry
Griffis, Jr. The Jamestown-based group became alternative rock heroes in the
1980′s and 1990′s with album sales that topped the 9 million mark. The group
appeared on many national television shows and had numerous national and
international tours. The 10,000 Maniacs are: Jerry Augustiniak, Dennis Drew,
Jeff Erickson, Steve Gustafson, and Mary Ramsey. Founding member John Lombardo
will be joining the band on stage for this performance.

The flood
that devastated Gowanda and Silver Creek had a catastrophic effect on Griffis
Sculpture Park. More than $50,000 worth of damage was done to the park due to
the flood damage.  The Park suffered major injury to its trails and roads. 
The main entrance road was removed, making it impassable for vehicles to enter. 
The entrance trail was turned into a river removing any entrance for the
visitors.  The trail to the cabins where the artist in residence program
takes place was rutted and removed making it nearly impassable.  Most of
the major trails suffered major damage to the point where they were a danger to
hike on.  Major sections were missing and ruts four feet deep were carved
in the middle of the trails.  The road to the Gatehouse was completely
removed and no vehicles could reach it.  Programming vehicles filled with
children, emergency vehicles and maintenance vehicles could not enter or
exit. 

The
community did everything they could to reopen the Park.  Volunteers poured
out with pick axes shovels and earth moving equipment. Union Concrete and Gary
Hill made a monumental effort to get the park back on its feet.  Without
their support the Park would still be in shambles.  The Park is in debt
due to the storm, and much work needs to be done. If you’re a fan of the park,
you can help support this unique organization by attending this event.

Tickets for
this event are $40 presale and $45 at the door. They can be purchased at
Terrapin Station, 1172 Hertel Avenue, Urban Threads, 736 Elmwood Ave, and Queen
City Gallery, inside the Market Arcade building at 617 Main Street – downtown
Buffalo. Phone orders can be made by calling the Ashford Hollow Foundation
office at 716.982.8776 during normal business hours.

About the author  ⁄ bluedevil

6 comments
Perry
Perry

The 10,000 Maniacs put out some great music that made WNY proud. The party's over at Essex Street are pretty legendary...I'll definitely be going to this event.

Whirlpool 138
Whirlpool 138

I'm sure there is enough artists through out the city who would be willing to donate something. It would really cool if we had a really dense sculpture park right in the downtown area. Maybe turn one of the underused city parks into one?

PaulBuffalo
PaulBuffalo

I agree. In a city with so much land available, now is the time to plan for one.

shakeman
shakeman

No Natalie but having John and Mary performing again as part of the Maniacs can't be all bad. Too bad Rob Buck is no longer with us...

br_boy
br_boy

Couldn't scrounge up Natalie Merchant? Heard her solo stuff was used in the sleep deprivation tactis at Gitmo...

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