Buffalo gamelan group receives funding, looks to grow in size

Apr 9, 2021

Nusantara Arts, Buffalo's first Javanese gamelan orchestra, is receiving additional funding moving forward to purchase new instruments and expand their reach. 


Nusantara Arts is one of the only non-university affiliated gamelan orchestras in the United States.

The group in the past received aid from the Indonesian embassy. But over the past week, Executive Director Matt Dunning announced they were one of 2021’s Department of Enviornmental Conservation grant recipients and met a campaign goal of $40,000.

"We're really going to use that funding to bolster our community music making on the West Side of Buffalo and new concerts," Dunning said, "but we want to attract some new people to our group. We want to be open to the public and accessible once again”


Some of the money will be used for the purchase of 197 wayang kulit shadow puppets.

"We received a global warming art project grant for 2021," Dunning said. "So we're going to do a wayang shadow puppets theater performance. And the focus is going to be on deforestation of the rain forest and global palm oil. So that is a big project for us.

The group plans on doing more, smaller events in communities that haven’t experienced Gamelan before.


In a time where hate-crimes against Asian-Americans are on the rise, Dunning said the artform, coming from Indonesia, provides a welcoming atmosphere to a different culture.

“The only way that we're going to combat the negative rhetoric is through positive exposure of the cultural issues, art and ideas of other people," Dunning said. "Because a lot of people live in a vacuum of negativity and misinformation.”


Nusantara Arts plans to start performances in the coming months. More information about the group can be found on their Facebook page.