History


Essex Arts Center

Illustration of the Essex street complex

Founded in 1969 by Larry Griffis Jr., the Essex Arts Center has been providing artist studios, subsidized artist apartment, gallery space, and public programming for four decades.

The facility was a former ice house, which makes for interesting living and studio spaces.

The complex currently houses the Studio for Youth – which provides arts in education programming for thousands of WNY students each year. The highly revered Big Orbit Gallery is located near the rear of the complex, off of the parking lot. The gallery was named “Best Small Gallery” by Buffalo Spree magazine.

There are eight artist-subsidized studios in the complex, which provides both living and creating space for artists. There is a long list of successful artists that have lived at the Essex Arts Center, including Cindy Sherman and Robert Longo.

The Ashford Hollow Foundation’s offices are located inside the complex. Griffis Studios also resides here. The place where many of the sculptures from the Sculpture Park were created as well as many local and national commissions.