Tonawanda News


June 2, 2014

NT celebrates its roller derby connections

ON THE STREET: "cOllide-a-scOpe 2014: Street" runs at Carnegie Art Center.

Tonawanda News — Since 2007, the Queen City Roller Girls have made North Tonawanda their home — and for five of those years, the Carnegie Art Center has showcased a derby-related exhibit culminating with “QCRG Day” and festivities leading up to the league’s championship bout.

Now, changes are coming — but not before one last hurrah in NT.

Mary Simpson, Carnegie executive director, recalled how the relationship between the league and the center started, a handful of years ago.

“I’m a new executive director (then), I’m driving down Goundry Street,” she recalled. “There’s a mob in front of Rainbow Rink. I had no idea what it was. I got here, I had 50 people here (at the center). So I had to find out what it was.”

The first QCRG-related exhibit, in 2010, featured sketches of bout posters; the second, dubbed “Body of Art ... ink like a girl,”  included photographs of derby skaters’ unique tattoos. The third exhibit took the “cOllide-a-scOpe” name, which has continued to this day, and featured artwork by derby participants; the fourth included photography of and by derby skaters and fans.

This year’s exhibit, “cOllide-a-scOpe 2014: Street,” is an exploration of “street art,” Simpson said.

“We’re trying to explore the theme of ‘street’ ... but also explore the history of the Roller Girls, because, as you know, they’re moving,” she said. “In a way, it’s a historical look at all the artistic things we’ve done with them over the years.”

Starting with the 2015 season, the league will hold its bouts at Buffalo RiverWorks, a new entertainment and event center planned for downtown Buffalo. There, the league will have a facility with a 98-by-66-foot derby track, the first of its kind in the nation.

But for now, the league, and the Carnegie, are counting down to one last QCRG championship in the area. At part of its “street” theme, the exhibit features contributed photography of street scenes and three “graffiti”-type pieces of artwork by Vincent Alejandro. Some derby participants created artwork out of actual roller skates. Some of the artwork will be auctioned off in a silent auction Saturday.

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