Big Tent Revival 2019

Transfiguration Church

Big Tent Revival: Photography Pop Up was held on the grounds of the Church of the Transfiguration, 929 Sycamore Street, on Friday, July 26, 2019, 6 to 11 pm. We invited photographers and special guest artists to interpret the state and future of Buffalo with the setting in mind of this vacant landmark—a place of memory, symbol of decline, and source of inspiration.

The show, the largest so far by Buffalo Obscura, featured work by 18 photographers and artists. Photographers include: Daniel Britt, Dan Cogliano, Julia DeMartinis, Chris Hawley, Molly Jarboe, Christina Laing, Lydia Maybee, Matthew McCarthy, Greg Meadows, Matthew Measer, Kate Stapleton Parzych, J-M Reed, Daniel Seiders, and Fr. Jud Weiksnar. The show will also feature visual artist Claudia Carballada, projection artists Dan Green and Jeremy Maxwell, and pianist Sarah Maybee, as well as special installations by Seiders and Reed.

“This pop up will reflect the idea of the ‘big tent revival’—not a literal interpretation of an outdoor religious event, but the idea of a Buffalo revival that is broadly shared,” said Molly Jarboe, a Buffalo Obscura collaborator. “Transfiguration will be the backdrop for artists exploring a ‘big tent’ view of the city.”

The Church of the Transfiguration is a Roman Catholic church built from 1896 to 1897 and designed in the Gothic Revival style by Carl Schmill. The Diocese of Buffalo closed the East Side church in 1993, after which it went into a period of abandonment and decay. In 2018, Daniel Britt purchased the site and began repairs, giving reason for optimism.

“Transfiguration Church is a metaphor for the Buffalo that was, is, and could be, and we wanted artists to take a look at what that might mean,” said Christina Laing of Buffalo Obscura. “Topics could cover anything related to ritual, overcoming, surviving, or celebrating. Any religion, or no religion.”

“Transfiguration Church may be the most threatened landmark in Buffalo, and one of the great place-defining symbols of the East Side,” said Chris Hawley, a Buffalo Obscura collaborator. “What happens next for this building and its changing neighborhood will be a source of conversation and inspiration at July 26th’s big tent revival.”

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The artists and organizers of Big Tent Revival: Photography Pop Up