The Centennial Gift
The Junior League of Buffalo, in partnership with the Burchfield Penney Art Center at SUNY Buffalo State, are excited to announce that artist, Shasti O'Leary has been selected to create a sculpture commemorating its centennial that will be permanently installed on the plaza outside the Burchfield Penney Art Center at SUNY Buffalo State College.
Composed of six vibrantly colored sculptures ranging in height from 5 to 12 feet, the form symbolizes a transformational stop on the lifelong journey of womanhood.
“The six revolving elements represent a faceted avatar, evoking the different stations of feminine power, progression, and metamorphosis: from youth to old age, naivety to wisdom, timidity to courage, obedience to defiance, stoicism to exuberance,” describes O’Leary Soudant. “Do Not Mistake My Softness for Weakness speaks to the necessity to rise and claim womanhood for ourselves, in whatever way we see fit. The sculpture is my ode to our eternal becoming.”
The sculpture was made possible by private donations from both individual JLB members and the community through a fund independently established by the JLB. The organization acknowledges the generous support of the M&T Foundation, the John R. Oishei Foundation, the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Funds at the Community Foundation, the Baird Foundation, the James H. Cummings Foundation, the Davis Family Foundation, KeyBank in partnership with First Niagara Foundation, Delaware North Corporation, the Josephine Goodyear Foundation, and the Cynthia Vance and Scott Smith Charitable Fund.
Founded in 1919, the Junior League of Buffalo (JLB) reaches out to women of all races, religions, and national origins who demonstrate an interest in and a commitment to voluntarism. It is one of 291 Junior Leagues in four countries comprising the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. Junior League of Buffalo members will observe the 100th anniversary in the 2018–2019 League year by celebrating the remarkable impact the organization has made in Western New York through the development of women as leaders and support to the community.
The proposed initiative will demonstrate to women and girls in the Western New York (WNY) community that they have the capacity to achieve. The statue will help to clarify our actions, our accomplishments, and hopes for the future. The statue will capture our memory, the long history of women’s impact in our community and long-term potential. Women and girls in our community will continue to lead and create positive lasting change in the region.
The Burchfield Penney Art Center is a museum dedicated to the art and artists of Western New York. It is located at 1300 Elmwood Avenue, situated in a neighborhood of modern and classic architecture. The museum, designed by Gwathmey Siegel and Associates Architects, presents a counterpoint to the surrounding architecture while continuing the story of architectural development into the 21st century. The Center was the first "green" art museum in New York State when it opened in 2008. The significant location of the Burchfield Penney and the site for the selected artwork is enhanced by their proximity to Buffalo State College, the Albright Knox Art Gallery, and is part of Buffalo's Olmsted Park System. This is a visible, high-traffic location.