Art exhibit pays tribute to fallen Bethlehem Steel building

Nov 15, 2013

A Buffalo State graduate student's work is part of a special exhibit opening Friday night at the Steel Plant Museum of Western New York. The project is in honor of the former Bethlehem Steel Administration Building in Lackawanna, which was recently torn down.

The exhibit is titled Razing Awareness: Historic Preservation and the Bethlehem Steel Administration Building. Steve Bukowski, who is pursuing his masters in Museum Studies, is one of 10 artists that submitted work for the exhibit.

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"It's an interesting project because it blends together art and history and artifacts to really look at the building and weave a history and the story of this building, which was tragically demolished last year," Bukowski told WBFO.

Bukowski says putting the exhibit together was challenging because he never had a chance to visit the Steel Administration building before it was demolished.

"So for me, I'm learning about this building almost for the first time and really exploring it thought the artifacts and the stories people have and how much it inspired art and photography and the preservationist movement," he said.

Bukowski became interested in the industrial history of Buffalo when he was in high school as well as in preservation. During his undergraduate work, one of his papers he wrote while attending Mercyhurst College was about the fall of Bethlemhem Steel in Rust Belt cities.

"I'm absolutely thrilled to be able to do my project at such a great small museum that takes its time to really interpret this very important piece of our history," Bukowski said.

The Steel Plant Museum at the Heritage Discovery Center on Lee Street in Buffalo was created in 1984. It preserves the history of the Bethlehem Steel Plant as well as items from Republic Steel and Hanna Furnace.

The Razing Awareness exhibit will be on display through this May.