Dog Ears Bookstore is once again offering a free Literary & Art Program for senior citizens.  Those 55 years and older are invited to participate in the “Around The World & Back Home Again” Literary & Art Program that explores different countries around the world and their authors, artists and culture, as well as local authors, poets and artists. 

On Wednesday, July 20 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., a literary instructor will introduce participants to the works of local author Tim Bohen and poet Marjorie Norris. During an interactive session, Bohen will be on hand to talk about his book “Against The Grain: The History of Buffalo’s First Ward.” Poems by Norris will also be read and discussed. 

Following the literary discussion, the Burchfield Penney Art Center will be on hand to guide participants in an art project and exploration of a local artist and their work. Nancy Spector, a graduate of the Chicago Institute of Art and former Associate Curator of Education, is a local artist who uses Instagram images as inspiration for colored pencil works. Spector will introduce participants to the work of Valentino Dixon, a Buffalo artist who was wrongly incarcerated for 28 years from the age of 19. He became an accomplished colored pencil artist with Michelle Obama recently purchasing one of his drawings. Participants will create their own colored pencil landscape drawing.

On Wednesday, Aug. 17 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., a literary instructor will introduce participants to the works of local author and poet Sinead Tyrone. During an interactive session, Tyrone will be on hand to talk about her literary works which include Walking Through The Mist, Crossing The Lough Between and Playing Each Other Home, and take readers on imaginary travels to Ireland. She has also written collections of poetry including Fragility and A Song of Ireland.  

Following the literary discussion, the Burchfield Penney Art Center will be on hand to guide participants in an art project and exploration of a local artist and their work. After a 36-year teaching career, University at Buffalo and Canisius College graduate Mary Kozub has served as Director of Education at Burchfield Penney Art Center since 2008. Kozub will introduce participants to the work of Donald Robertson. Robertson (1925-1984) was a painter, printmaker and educator primarily known for his Optical Art acrylic paintings and prints. He served for many years as chairman of the Department of Art at the University at Buffalo where he taught painting and printmaking, and his work has been shown throughout the country including at the Burchfield Penney Art Center and Albright Knox Art Gallery. Kozub will guide participants in making their own hard-edged painting in line with Roberstson’s style.

On Wednesday, Aug. 31 from 12:30 to 3 p.m. the focus shifts to a foreign country – Britain! A literary instructor will explore the works of British author C.S. Lewis and the poetry of William Shakespeare. Various works from the authors will be read, discussed and reflected on.  

Following the literary discussion, a local artist will explore the Arts & Crafts Movement.  Participants will learn about Art Nouveau and will create their own Art Nouveau-themed decoupage vase.

The program is limited to 15 participants per session and is completely free for senior citizens.  All class materials are provided. In addition, a book of the highlighted authors’ work will be raffled off among those in attendance.

The program will be held at Dog Ears Bookstore, which is located at 688 Abbott Road, Buffalo, near Mercy Hospital. Street parking is available along Abbott Road and on surrounding side streets. The café will be open for food and beverage purchases.

Pre-registration is required for each session and can be made by calling the bookstore at (716) 823-2665. Participants are expected to stay for both the literary and art portion of each program.

The “Around The World & Back Home Again” Literary & Art Program is a monthly series that features different countries and its authors and artists as well as local artists, authors and poets. The program is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrant program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by Arts Services Inc.

Dog Ears Bookstore will be offering free summer programming for youth during July and August.

Dog Ears Bookstore will be offering free summer programming for youth during July and August.

Dog Ears Bookstore will be offering free summer programming for youth during July and August. The week-long camps are designed to help build reading and writing skills, as well as comprehensive skills that target the needs for each specific grade level. Throughout the camps, youth will learn helpful tips, skills and strategies that will carry across all subject areas and transition into the NYS Common Core Curriculum. However, lessons and activities will be fun, interactive and hands-on and will utilize multiple methods of instruction to meet the varied learning styles of youth.

All sessions will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are limited to 20 students per camp. Camps are based on the grade youth will be entering in September 2022. For youth going into second and third grade, separate camps will be held the weeks of Aug. 1-5 and Aug. 15-19. For youth entering fourth, fifth and sixth grade, separate camps will be held the weeks of July 11-15, July 18-22 and July 25-29. Camp will be held the week of Aug. 8-12 for youth entering seventh and eighth grade. At this time, parents are only able to sign their children up for one week of programming so that as many children as possible can attend and participate.  

The camps are open to children of all reading and writing levels and will consist of an activity in the morning which will include, but is not limited to music, sports, animals, drama, literature, arts, community awareness and more. For the second and third grade camps, local community members and businesses will be utilized as mentors to help show the youth different avenues to success, team building and cooperative learning. Following an on-site lunch break (participants must provide their own bagged lunch each day), youth will break into small groups to reflect upon, write about and share thoughts about their morning experiences and achievements. 

The camps for the two older groups will be slightly different. Youth will be introduced to “speed book dating” and book circles to broaden the scope and exposure to different types of literary genres, styles, influences, authors and cultures. Different forms of writing, along with the processes that go into each one, will also be explored. Youth will participate in Writer’s Workshops that will be based on a book that is chosen by the group. 

In addition to the week-long camps, Dog Ears will also be offering Summer Reading Guidance Sessions for high school students. This will take place on Thursday evenings throughout the summer for a total of six sessions on the following dates: July 14, July 21, July 28, Aug. 4, Aug. 11 and Aug. 18. These sessions will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. to accommodate teen schedules. The sessions will be used to help high school students understand, comprehend and complete their summer reading list/books. Assistance will also be given with the assignments that accompany the books. The books to be utilized throughout this camp are extracted from summer reading lists from area schools. Each Thursday night session can accommodate 20 youth at a time and participants must provide their own copy of the book.

New York State-certified English Language Arts teachers, or those with comparable credentials, will plan and facilitate all of the camps. All supplies and portfolios for writing pieces will be provided.

All sessions will be held at Dog Ears Bookstore, which is located at 688 Abbott Road, Buffalo, near Mercy Hospital. Sessions will be held upstairs of the bookstore (enter through the front entrance). Adults must be mindful of drop-off and pick-up times and are welcome to wait for their children at the end of the day in the café, which will be open for food and beverage purchases.

Pre-registration is required and youth are expected to attend the entire week that they are signed up for. Parents can sign up their children by stopping in the bookstore to fill out registration paperwork. No sign ups will be taken over the phone. Applications will be available starting Tuesday, June 14 at 1 p.m. and are on a first come, first serve basis.

The free programs are made possible through funding by the Erie County Youth Bureau and City of Buffalo Councilman Christopher Scanlon.

For additional information regarding the camps, please contact Tom McDonnell at tom@enlightenthedog.org. 

We would like to thank Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Erie County for their ongoing support of the arts in WNY, including programs offered here at Dog Ears Bookstore. Please know that your support is greatly appreciated!

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