BUFFALO, N.Y. – Joe Fischer of Longview, Wash. has donated over $100,000 to Starlight Studio & Art Gallery, a vibrant art studio at 340 Delaware Ave in Buffalo, N.Y. that supports adults with disabilities in their artistic development.  In recognition of his generosity, the library space within the studio will be dedicated “The Joe Fischer Creative Hub” during a special event on July 16, 2024.

“Starlight Studio & Art Gallery has transformed its library into a beautiful and inspired space with the funds from Joe,” noted Marc Hennig, Deputy Director of Beyond Support Network; which supports the Starlight Studio programming.

Starlight Studio has renovated its library into a highly usable and attractive space. New lighting and shelving makes the large room an optimal place to work on art while the refurbished floors and artistically painted walls bring cheer.

Among other uses, this room has become the hub for Starlight’s Writing Group. With funds from Joe Fischer, Starlight has hired writers through Just Buffalo Literary Center to hold writing workshops. Currently, the group is working with the cartoonist Max Weiss to create zines for Zine Fest 2024 at WNY Book Arts Center.

Joe Fischer served in the United States Air Force as an Air Traffic Controller and Graphic Artist in the 1950’s and received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Oregon in 1963. Fischer has educated and created opportunities for artists across the country including during his almost 30-year tenure as the Director of the Creative Craft Center at the State University of N.Y. at Buffalo from 1965 to 1994.

The Creative Craft Center was the largest Non-academic / Academic craft center in the country. University at Buffalo students and community members studied weaving, pottery, metals, stained glass and photography; Fischer’s focus of instruction was drawing and painting.

Mr. Fischer has exhibited his paintings in many galleries in New York State and in the Pacific Northwest; his artwork is in collections across the globe including Canada, Ecuador, Norway, and Sweden. As an educator, he taught at Empire State College from 1975-1994 and at the University of Buffalo from 1970-1994.  Joe has established deep bonds with some of his students; some he continues to advise today from 3,000 miles away.

“It is apt to name this room The Joe Fischer Creative Hub as so many creative pursuits happen in here,” said Carrie Marcotte, Director of Starlight Studio and Art Gallery. “From Tai Chi in the morning, movies on Fridays, writing group on Tuesdays and artmaking throughout, much creative exploration occurs in here. Not only is Joe Fischer a loyal patron of Starlight Studio, he has also become our friend—he really gets what we do here and understands the value for the artists and the larger community. We have no trouble living his credo, ‘The arts give meaning to life, participate!’”

Beyond Support Network is a non-profit organization that supports persons with developmental disabilities. The organization strives to create and provide an environment in which all individuals they serve experience independence, respect, dignity, and full participation in the community so that they can reach their potential. For more information on Beyond Support Network or Starlight Studio & Art Gallery, visit starlightstudio.org or visit us on Instagram/starlightstudiobuffalo and Facebook.com/SSAGBuffalo.