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Why you NEED to visit the Just Buffalo Literary Center

By Senior Art Major Isabella Lamberty

The Just Buffalo Literary Center has been a part of the community for more than 45 years. The center has been crucial in bringing literature to Buffalo. Every year they host BABEL, a series of events that showcase renowned writers and authors right here in Buffalo. Even more exciting is their use of the Marine A grain silo. Despite such an absurd venue, they use the silo for their Silo City Reading Series. Writers from all over the country come together to perform music and poetry. What once was an industrial site, now houses a beautiful gathering place for lovers of the arts.

Just Buffalo Writers working on Made-To-Order poems

But that's not all – the writing center has so much to offer for people like you and me. JBLC is a gathering place for writers ages 12-18. As far as safety and acceptance goes, this place gets an A++. Everyone is welcome to participate and be a part of the Just Buffalo community, no matter what your size, race, color, ethnicity, language, gender, religion, or sexuality.

At the Just Buffalo Literary Center, I was a Youth Ambassador. It was like being in a special little club, a club that included getting emails and being sporadically paid to write. As a YA I developed public speaking skills beyond just reading poems. My fellow Youth Ambassadors have become amazingly supportive coworkers and friends. There are so many opportunities to host writing workshops, open mics, and other events. I once co-hosted an event at the Albright-Knox Northland Art Gallery. Northland invited young writers at JBLC to create a zine for the gallery’s exhibit at the time. Months later, we were finally presenting and reading poems from it at the gallery. And - for the record - I got paid for it!

Youth Ambassadors Bella and Theo at JBLC's "Trick or T'reading" Event

The center, located at 468 Washington Street, is open most Tuesdays and Thursdays. They typically have an event called “Open Hours” where you can just come and work on anything you want with or without help from an adult or a Youth Ambassador. It’s never too late to join the writing community at JBLC. (And if you’re over 18, they have adult workshops too!) If you think you’re a bad writer, you’re still a writer. The people there are there to help you become the best artist you can be.

For more information, feel free to visit their website or call them at (716) 832-5400.

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