The Nancy Haberman Gacioch, William T. Gacioch & Family Center for Visual & Performing Arts opened Thursday, October 4 on Daemen’s campus. Ceremonies were highlighted by a naming gift from Nancy Haberman Gacioch, a member of the Rosary Hill College Class of ’62, her husband, William, and their family. The $5.4 million Center is an adaptive reuse project, a striking new space in the former Marian Library on the south border of the campus, facing Main Street.
The event featured remarks from Nancy Haberman Gacioch; Daemen President Dr. Edwin Clausen; Chair of the College campaign for the Center Audre J. Bunis; and Daemen Director of Visual & Performing Arts Dr. Laura Sommer. Inspired by the late Jeanne File, OSF, who established the Art Department at the former Rosary Hill College more than six decades ago, the new Center will meet the demands of growing enrollment in the arts programs at Daemen.
The Center is designed to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification utilizing ‘green’ technology and geothermal heating to contain energy costs. By using the exterior structure of the former Marian Library, the Center makes efficient use of this space without expanding the College’s footprint.
“Daemen College is profoundly grateful for the great generosity of Nancy Haberman Gacioch for the Center for Visual & Performing Arts, to be named in honor of her and the Gacioch family,” said Daemen President Dr. Edwin Clausen.
“With this gift — the largest single gift from an alumna of the College — arts programs at Daemen are positioned for a vibrant future. Through the Haberman Gacioch Center for Visual & Performing Arts, Nancy’s singular support will now be recognized by future generations of Daemen College students, bringing the visual and performing arts together in a dedicated center designed to showcase the arts and fire the imagination.”
“We are honored to be able to assist in this wonderful new center for the arts at Daemen College,” said Nancy Haberman Gacioch. “This has afforded our family an opportunity, which we value greatly, to allow my father’s name and memory to move forward, and to become a part of the lives of all of the students who will study and learn in this building. He would have loved to be a part of that — and so now he is.”
“The arts are an essential part of life in our community,” said Audre J. Bunis. “The Center will strengthen the ties between the College arts community and the community at large, providing a home for the arts for students and members of the general public.”
“The Haberman Gacioch Center for Visual & Performing Arts will give our faculty and students the physical space to reach great artistic heights,” said Dr. Laura Sommer, Director of Visual & Performing Arts at Daemen.
The Center is equipped with an interactive performance/lecture space with seating for 50, featuring high-resolution projection and state-of-the-art SMART Board technology. The Center also features flexible studio space allowing for studio instruction and theatrical space, with moveable walls making it possible to transform one large studio into three smaller ones. A second floor, dedicated to Graphic Design, will house a large, open production space as well as computer labs and faculty offices.
About Nancy Haberman Gacioch
Nancy Haberman Gacioch ’62 studied social studies and economics at the former Rosary Hill College, now Daemen College. In addition to her support for the arts at Daemen, she has also funded an endowed scholarship for women in business, provided funding for a new lecture series in the area of business entrepreneurship, and an Interdisciplinary Minor in Entrepreneurship.
Widely known for their philanthropy in Buffalo and Erie County, Nancy and her husband, Bill, have had enormous success in creating a business that employs 300 people and provides housing for over 20,000 tenants around the country. National Property Management Associates (NPMA), now headquartered in Orchard Park, was founded by Bill Gacioch more than 45 years ago.
Wide-ranging areas of the Buffalo and Western New York community have benefited for many years from the Gaciochs’ philanthropy. Their commitments have been especially evident in the areas of children’s advocacy, education, and preventing animal cruelty.
In addition, the Gaciochs’ philanthropic spirit has been felt at the Buffalo City Mission; the Salvation Army; and the Buffalo Chapter of the American Red Cross. Mrs. Gacioch is involved in a new entity — Cradle Beach — and has been an ardent supporter of the Child Advocacy Center, now under the umbrella of Child and Adolescent Treatment Services. The Gaciochs also work with the Wounded Warrior Project to assist Western New York military personnel.
The First Exhibition
The work of Massachusetts area artist and educator Brooke A. Knight, whose art investigates the landscape and its manifestations in technology, was the opening exhibit in the Center, where he was artist-in-residence during the 2011-2012 academic year. Knight traveled to Western New York multiple times over a period of one year to gather material for “Context + Marker.” The exhibit continues investigation from previous exhibitions where he examined the importance of place in the context of Western New York. The exhibit presents a view of Western New York as one might not normally see it, using the camera frame to reintroduce the landscape with new parameters of perception.
“The idea of something being out of focus is a byproduct of a monocular, technical vision. The lens allows us to focus on what’s out of focus,” Knight noted.