Monday, September 9, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened to Me in Allentown...


Hello dear friends. It feels like ages since I wrote and I am so sorry for the long break, but a sista needed some quality time to herself. I'm glad to say that I got that time and I am so ready to bring you some exciting pieces. So here we go!

I imagine that there are events like this through out the USA, but every first Friday of the month here in Buffalo, NY, many galleries have new openings, exhibits and they are all free. I adore First Fridays here. Not only do I get to see world renown art at Albright Knox Art Gallery and local artists at many of the smaller and locally owned galleries, but I get to meet new people, have stimulating conversations and did I mention the free wine? Last week was one of those nights, especially because it was the grand unavailing of the Allen St. Street Artist Collective, sponsored by Mark Goldman, the owner of Allen Street Hardware Cafe. This was an event I had been looking forward to for some time and did not want to miss it. So my little Masaya and I headed to Allentown for a night of mother and son creative festivities. Its so important to me and Kenji that we expose our son not only to the arts, but that he also support art, in all its different forms and art in his community. We pride ourselves on Masaya being well rounded and bringing him to events like this monthly helps us reach this goal.

So off went me and Masaya, he decked out in his best urban baby chic and me in my skinny jeans. As we were coming up to the main event I saw a few of the murals that were on display. Eager to capture the moment, I snapped a few shots while Masaya waited patiently for me. And then, I heard her. Just some random woman, watching me and Masaya with a look of disgust on her face. She  said "Why would she bring her kid here?" loudly to her friend, who also shared her disapproval. Now, for those of you who don't live here in WNY, Allentown is on the more...bohemian side of the city, full of colorful characters and places to drink and get crazy. But we live in the city and because of this, my child is exposed to everything, the sweet and the bitter sides of urban living, life really. However, this woman's reaction really puzzled me. My child was not in any danger. The monthly event is very family friendly as well as the neighborhood itself. Yet, by her tone, you would have thought my son was at the corner playing with knives and being groomed by pimps. So being the confident woman that I am, I finished taking my photos, grabbed Masaya's hand and turned to this very judgmental woman and said:

"I bring my son here almost every month because this city is his home and we support our home. And more importantly, I don't want my child to be as closed minded and ignorant as you. He's only three and he is already more cultured and refine then you will ever be. Have a good night."

And with that, me and Masaya turned on our heels while she was cussing me out in the background, but I was too busy glowing in my little speech to even notice her. We had a blast the rest of the night, met some amazing artists, saw some great pieces and even ran into a few friends. Not to mention, I ended up getting the best validation from one of the gallery owners who said to me "I see you and your son around often. Thank you for exposing your kid to art. You're a great parent and we need a lot more  like you." I was so touched, but also proud of my child as well.

Yes, we run into those folks who want to judge us, tell us that were doing it  wrong and that their way is better. But they are few and far between. The ones who truly watch us, observe us and encourage us, well, there are far too many to count.

Here's to art and here's to teaching our young ones all about it!

Love Malinda xoxo

For more information on First Fridays here in Buffalo, NY, Allen St. Hardware Cafe and ASSA Collective please visit the following links:


  1. I live in Allentown and I've been taking my daughter (now 11 years old) to Art Openings since she was an infant. Keep it up! You are doing the right thing for your family and your community. right on.

    1. Thank you so much for reading this post and thank you for the wonderful feedback. As parents we can sometimes second guess ourselves and our own parenting skills by how others judge us. Your words have encouraged me to keep doing what I'm doing. Thank you again!!!