Beyond Language Panel Discussion, Friday, August 24, 2018, 5:00-8:00 pm

Buffalo Arts Studio presented “Beyond Language; using the arts to bridge cultural differences.” This panel discussion brought together diverse voices from across our cultural community to speak about the ways each uses the arts to bridge cultural differences and work across inherent difficulties presented by language. Open Buffalo Acting Director Max Anderson and Buffalo Arts Studio Curator Shirley Verrico co-moderated the discussion. 

Zsofi Barabás, BuBu Artist-In-Residence, Buffalo Arts Studio  
Zsofi Barabás is the inagural BuBu Artist and Residence. Her colorful, amorphous paintings and stark, black and white works on paper reflect her extensive travels, and draw inspiration from distinct architectural elements throughout the world. Prior to her residency in Buffalo, her artwork has been featured widely in exhibitions across Europe, as well as Russia and Japan.

Mackenzie Hafner, Community Outreach Specialist, Journey’s End Refugee Services
Mackenzie Hafner has a long history with Journey’s End. She volunteered with the agency for four years before she joined the staff in the fall of 2017, after graduating with her degree in Global Gender Studies from the University at Buffalo in 2017. She founded the Refugee Women’s Empowerment Group at Journey’s End, and is currently leading the advocacy efforts of the agency. She is also involved in running the volunteer program, donor relations, and special events, including marketing for the Journey’s End WNY Refugee Film Festival fundraiser that will begin this September. The website for the fundraiser is

Katalin Mechtler, Director of the BuBu Artist Resident Exchange Program
Mechtler originated the Artist Resident Exchange Program between Budapest, Hungary and Buffalo, NY in the summer of 2018. The program supported the exchange of Hungarian Artist, Zsófi Barabás, to work at the Buffalo Art Studio, while American artist, Sarah Fonzi, works at Art Quarter Budapest. The goal of the program is to enable artists to meet and network with other artists and arts professionals internationally. Ideally, the BuBu Artist Resident Exchange Program will build a strong and meaningful relationship between the two contemporary art centers: Buffalo Art Studio and Art Quarter Budapest.

Win Min Thant, Educational Coordinator, Buff State Center for Excellence in Urban and Rural Education
Win was born and raised in Burma, and came to the U.S. in 2007. She found new roots in Buffalo through her grassroots work with a variety of local organizations and public schools. A true believer of equity and democracy, Win strives to empower youth through education.

MarCe Zerrate-Sandel, Executive Director and Founder, Amor and Heritage Dance
Born in Cali, Colombia, MarCe has been involved in and celebrated the Hispanic Heritage through the arts from her early childhood. She began Folkloric dancing and acting in Cali, Colombia and continued her artistic career when she moved to the United States in 1999, where she professionally performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, taught folkloric, Hispanic- Latino dances at various non-for-profits and schools, founded and is the executive and artistic director of her Folkloric, Traditional, Hispanic dance Company Amor and Heritage Inc. in Buffalo, NY. In recognition of her work, she was awarded the Certificate of Merit by Assemblyman Peter D. Lopez and Certificate of Recognition for her valuable contribution to arts and culture by the Art Services initiative. More information is available at

Muhammad Z. Zaman, Open Buffalo Emerging Artist 2018
Muhammad Z. Zaman, a Buffalo-based, urban artist, specializing in calligraphy. Using language and text as cultural signifier, Zaman layers English, Bengali, and Arabic into richly-textured canvases. Zaman uses the languages that make up his identity: English for his current home, Bengali as the language of his fatherland, and Arabic as the language of his religion. His drawings, paintings, and murals are meant to inspire people to learn from each other in harmony and mutual understanding.

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