“We have one of the coolest lobbies in Buffalo,” I tell tour groups when they visit WNED.
Just as a front foyer offers a welcoming space for a home, WNED’s lobby greets visitors with a comfortable and memorable first impression. Much more than a seating area, the lobby offers a special mix of our diverse “points of pride.”
Here are a few of the highlights in our lobby space:
The WNED Buffalo Niagara Guitar Festival was held in June for seven years, from 2001 through 2007. Big-name guitarists highlighted this musical celebration, including Bo Diddley, George Benson and Pat Metheny. Eight of the performers autographed guitars and these musical souvenirs are proudly displayed in the WNED lobby.
A “Reading Rainbow” Emmy
WNED co-produced the acclaimed “Reading Rainbow” series, which aired weekdays on most PBS stations for 26 years (1983-2009). This upbeat, innovative series, hosted by LeVar Burton, encouraged children to read and develop a love of reading and books. The series was honored with myriad awards, including 26 Emmy Awards. It remains a popular resource in classrooms nationwide.
A Colorful Bison
WNED sponsored a bison for Buffalo’s “Herd About Buffalo” public art project in 2000, and it now stands in our lobby—representing WNED’s U.S. audience. WNED’s buffalo was one of 150 that roamed the streets that summer. They were then auctioned off to benefit two local nonprofits: Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the Burchfield-Penney Art Center. Where have some of the other buffaloes found permanent homes?
Artist Steve Brouse painted the WNED buffalo with a lakefront scene and PBS/WNED symbols, including Big Bird of “Sesame Street” fame and a rainbow depicting “Reading Rainbow.”
A Colorful Moose
WNED also sponsored a moose for Toronto’s “Moose in the City” public art project in 2000. The statue, one of 326 created, represents WNED’s Canadian audience. The project raised funds for 75 Toronto-area organizations including the Canadian Olympic Association’s Athlete Grant, the Daily Bread Food Bank and the Toronto Public Library.
“Ambassador Moose,” painted by Wayne Mondok, depicts cityscapes of Buffalo, N.Y. and Toronto.
A Portrait of J. Michael Collins
One of WNED’s five original staff members, Mike Collins played a major role in the station’s development and growth during a nearly 40-year career (1959-1998), including 28 as president and chief executive officer. Collins was inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasters Association’s Hall of Fame in 1999. He serves on the advisory committee for this nonprofit organization’s archiving project, which involves preserving local news footage from the late 1960s and early 1970s.
TV and Radio
The Person in Charge
Nanci Lilga has staffed WNED’s front desk for a dozen years. She’s a consummate multi-tasker who helps keep WNED organized and operating smoothly in a zillion ways. (She was camera shy today!)
What one thing should be added to WNED’s lobby? (Get creative!)