There are so many ways to celebrate the life and times of Charles Burchfield (1893-1967), along with his artistic family, if you live in Western New York. Now, there’s one more opportunity to add to the list.
On Saturday, September 23, the town of West Seneca will host the inaugural BurchFest. The event is being touted as A Celebration of the Charles Burchfield Family and is being considered a fun-filled celebration of the arts.
“This is a continuation of our efforts to promote West Seneca as an arts tourism destination while building on the Burchfield family legacy,” said Joe Kirchmyer, executive director of the West Seneca Chamber of Commerce. “While most of the events will take place in The Charles Burchfield Gardenville District in the Union Road – Clinton Street corridor, there will be additional events happening all day long at select West Seneca locations.”
Renowned artist Charles Burchfield lived with his family in West Seneca from 1925 into the 1960s. His daughters – Martha Burchfield Richter and Catherine Burchfield Parker – were also esteemed artists.
To this date, West Seneca still boasts the original Burchfield home, as well as Charles’ studio, which can be found on Clinton Street, just east of Union Road. To boot, West Seneca is also home to the inspirational Charles E. Burchfield Nature & Art Center.
As for BurchFest, here’s what visitors can expect:
The Charles E. Burchfield Nature & Art Center Gallery, 2001 Union Road, will host an exhibit titled Three Generations of Burchfields: Works from the Schoene Collection, from noon to 3 p.m. This exhibit will consist of works by Charles E. Burchfield, his daughters Martha Burchfield Richter and Catherine Burchfield Parker, and his granddaughter Peggy Richter Haug, and will remain on display through Oct. 30.
Friends of the Burchfield volunteers will also host activities from noon to 3 p.m. in the Burchfield Nature & Art Center and Burchfield Park, including two craft activities and a scavenger hunt in the park. There will also be free play activities such as bubbles, sidewalk art, parachute play, toss games, hula hoops, etc. Some of these items may be left out after 3 p.m. for those who arrive later.
Tour the park at your leisure and find members of the West Seneca Art Society who will be plein air painting and sketching on the grounds from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Burchfield Home & Studio, 3574 Clinton St., will host tours of the recently renovated home and studio from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Representatives from Red Disk/White Bicycle, manufacturer of Burchfield wallpaper designs, will also be on hand, as well as members of the West Seneca Art Society who will be plein air painting and sketching on the grounds.
Christian Metz House, West Seneca’s oldest building located at 12 School St., will host an informal open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The first-floor flooring within the historic building was recently restored using yellow pine boards and square-headed nails reflective of the time period during which the Metz House was built. Built circa 1840, the house was originally occupied by George Stanart who operated a Seneca Indian-owned sawmill nearby during the time of the Buffalo Creek Reservation. It later became the home of Christian Metz, the leader of the Ebenezer Society, who led this German-speaking religious group from Europe to West Seneca beginning in 1842.
Fourteen Holy Helpers Church, 1345 Indian Church Road, will host an open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with parishioners and staff available to answer questions about the historic church and parish, which dates back to the 1860s. Guests will also see a display featuring several unique and historic artifacts. Additional parking available.
Martha Burchfield Richter Atrium in the West Seneca Community Center & Library, 1300 Union Road, will host Inspired by Nature: Works from the Fine Arts League of Buffalo. The exhibit will be on display from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This special themed exhibition features works by artists in an organization that has been dedicated to appreciating and promoting realistic art since 1953.
Painting With A Twist, located at 1054 Union Road in the Southgate Plaza, will offer Burchfield-inspired painting sessions on Sept. 23. An all-ages class will run from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and cost $29 per person, while an adult class will run from 6 to 8 p.m. and cost $39. All materials are included for these fun and engaging classes, and all guests will leave with their finished masterpieces!
Rusty Nickel Brewing Company, 4350 Seneca St., will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m Saturday, Sept. 23, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24. A September Artisan Market will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and will feature more than 50 local artists and makers, food trucks, a kid’s activity corner and more! Shop local and support small businesses while enjoying food and beverages from Rusty Nickel Brewing! Their BurchFest beer release will be an Apple Fritter Amber Ale! For more information, please visit www.rustynickelbrewing.com/artisan-market.
St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3512 Clinton St., will host a variety of activities from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., including a craft sale, historical discussions, live music from approximately noon to 4:45 p.m., food and beverages, and more! Guests can also view their impressive stained glass windows which date back to 1912. Additional parking available.
The West Seneca Public Library and West Seneca Recreation Department, 1300 Union Road, will offer Burchfield-inspired activities. The West Seneca Art Society will be in the library’s Makerspace room from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. where the public can stop in to make their own bookmarks. Burchfield neighbor Joan Albarella will also be delivering her talk/narrated slide show called “Gardenville Neighbors: Remembering the Burchfields” at 11 a.m. in the large community room.
West Seneca Youth & Recreation will be teaming up with Art with Aoife to offer craft projects for various ages in the Community Center Gym from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. during BurchFest.
WNY Federal Credit Union, 1937 Union Road, will host four food trucks — Cheesy Chick, House of Munch, Just Pizza and Big Papa’s Creamery — in their front parking lot. Additional parking available.
For more information and updates, please visit westseneca.org/burchfest.
BurchFest is sponsored, in part, by GEICO Local Office West Seneca, located in the Southgate Plaza. For sponsorship information, please contact the West Seneca Chamber of Commerce at 674-4900.