Open Studios = Open the doors to The Guild @ 980

The world of Buffalo artists and artisans is growing a lot, thanks in part to the efforts of collectives like The Guild @ 980. I spoke to Kevin Hayes, who, along with Michael Gainer, runs the operation. And what an operation it has become! There are currently 50 artists’ and artisans’ studios in operation at The Guild, which is on the second and third floors of the 45,000 square foot building. Kevin told me there are plans to build 20 more studios this winter, as demand is high for affordable workspaces in a community setting.

The Guild @ 980
A workshop

There are so many talented artists and artisans at The Guild,” Kevin told me. “Like musical instrument maker Michael Schenkel and Kendra Stevens (The Swing Gallery), who makes beautiful swings, and freelance photographer Malik Rainey, who works for The New York Times at 21 years old. Then we have painters, carpenters, people who do jewelry and screen printing, small fabrication, wood, metal and glass. We also have a few people doing custom sneaker upgrades and collectible sneakers.

The first floor of the building is home to ReUse Action, which is filled to the brim with all manner of salvaged, donated, and found goods and materials. This is where you’ll find everything from old doors to fireplace mantels. Back in the day, there were other warehouses that specialized in these types of coveted building and decorating items, like Horsefeathers and Gothic City, but these days, ReUse Action is where it’s at.

Kevin Hayes

One of the things that makes ReUse Action so interesting is that there is a subcontracting division, with its own carpenters. There are also recovery teams that ensure that as much material as possible does not end up in landfills. These hoarded materials (like insulation) take up so much space that Kevin and Michael are preparing to build a pole building (barn) on their property this spring. This will help free up valuable space in the building and on their backyard, which is increasingly reaching full capacity.

Since 2015, ReUse Action and The Guild @ 980 have grown. Not only is the building a major convenience for people looking to repair and accessorize their homes, but it is also a place of inspiration for artists and artisans.

The Guild @ 980
George, holding his book on Las Vegas Radio and TV | Photo courtesy of ReUse Action

On a personal note, I am saddened to learn of the passing of George Thomas (GT) Apfel, who had become an indispensable figurehead (maintenance engineer) at the ReUse Action building. From his golden days in radio as a broadcaster, station manager, engineer, etc. in Las Vegas, until his announced return to Buffalo to help lead the city’s renaissance, George was respected and loved by so many. His journey back to Buffalo is chronicled in this self-penned article Buffalo Rising.

Although George is no longer with us, his spirit is alive and well at ReUse Action and The Guild @ 980. Everything he worked, embodied and wanted for Buffalo continues to come to fruition at this bustling center that is in business for recover, restore and renew. It fit his own mantra to rebuild Buffalo.

When it comes to Creative Studios and the endless sea of ​​salvaged and surplus building materials, the public can see all of this and more, via a series of Open Studios at The Guild @ 980, on the second Saturday of each month, from 11 a.m. This is the perfect time to meet the artists and inhabitants who occupy the studios. Of course, ReUse Action is also open during these hours, as well as during weekly opening hours.

Visit in person at 980 Northampton Street or visit for more information.

Email: [email protected] | Phone: 716-894-3366

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