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The Goose

Two new artworks reflect connections, growth of the Goose

By Joanne Beck
Tree project at Goose
Artist David Burke witih his mural at The Goose in Oakfield.
Submitted photo

Two new art projects at the GOOSE Community Center in Oakfield are not just visual embellishments to the Main Street property, founder Susan Zeliff says.

They are embodiments of what the center stands for and has become. 

One is a mural based on a quote that Zeliff chose: “This I have learned from the shadow of a tree, that my influence may fall where I will never be.”

“It spoke to me a lot about our community center and the people that support it,” Zeliff said. “They’re helping people that they may never come into contact with.”

She commissioned artist David Burke, thanks to a grant through GO Art!, to paint the mural on an exterior wall of the center. It features a large grassy area with a tree’s shadow and the quote. 

The easy part was knowing what to do, Burke said. He used a scaffold for the piece measuring about 10 feet high and 40 feet wide. It took about 35 hours over the course of three or four trips to complete it with rollers and brushes.

What’s it like to have pedestrians and motorists going by observing your handiwork?
“It’s great, I love it. Several people in Batavia have been doing murals and all over the country,” he said. “Murals are coming back. It’s exposing people to art. I just like the idea of teaching and art. I really kind of enjoy turning people onto the idea that anybody can make art; anyone has the capacity for making any kind of art or music.”

Zeliff plans to apply for a GO Art! grant to bring in some art teachers, including Burke, for lessons, hopefully at the beginning of 2024, she said.

Those lessons will complement a host of activities, including chair yoga, which has doubled or tripled in attendance since first offered; a Family Fun Bingo night on the first and third Tuesdays of the month, drawing some 60 participants of all ages; a continuously growing food pantry that serves 80 to 90 families each month; a farm market that operates separately in the back of the building on Saturdays; and community room space that is rented out for special events. 

Zeliff has been turning to GO Art! more regularly with applications for grants, last year providing “different styles of art, an expressive kind of art,” she said, which featured Burke and Bill Shutt, who returned this year to provide the second latest piece of exterior artwork for the GOOSE at 33 South Main St.

Bill Shutt hands project
Artist Bill Shutt with his Connecting Hands project at The Goose.
Submitted photo

He and Zeliff loosely talked about how his piece could somehow represent the site, and the symbol of hands came to him.

“I asked her the reason for the GOOSE, and she said to connect the GOOSE to the community and to resources and to connect businesses, connect organizations, etc. So that kind of led me to thinking about handshakes, and we’ve seen some of the logos of the four interconnected hands, so that was where the thought process for this piece came from,” he said. “The shapes came from recycled material … so all the hands are different. The material is all different, again, trying to show that we’re all made up of different pieces, and different parts, and we can all connect together.

“Connecting hands, connecting communities is what the GOOSE is all about,” Shutt said. 

A mechanic and welder fabricator for many years, Shutt was used to “making stuff” from the odds and ends of motorcycle parts and other materials that were the remains from an old farm, he said. 

“A lot of it was stuff around the house or around the shop. I've tinkered with cars and motorcycles. Probably five or six years ago was the first time that I really made something that was an art piece, per se. And that started off with old pieces, parts, motorcycle parts and car parts that I made into some musical instrument-inspired pieces,” he said.

He has crafted stringed musical instruments and other creations  — including some metal sculptures on boxes depicting the inequity of humanity outside of the GO Art! site in Batavia.

For the Oakfield project, he used galvanized tubing, stainless steel, chrome steel, motorcycle parts, and an old, high-pressure gas cylinder tubing. He appreciates using recycled materials and will be working on a project using part of an old Erie Canal lift bridge. 

Connecting hands is freshly tagged, so he hasn’t gotten a whole lot of feedback just yet, but “hopefully, the main message got across,” Shutt said. 

“If they see something positive out of it, it was a success,” he said. “It took about three months to complete. It was a lot of trial and error, a lot of R and D time, how I was going to make the hands, positions he hands. Sometimes the material dictates what you’re doing.”

Zeliff is pleased with both projects as an extension of yet continuing growth of the GOOSE center, which falls under the Warrior House program. Shutt’s artwork depicts one person standing with a “whole lot of hands behind them, and that’s my everyday,” she said. 

“I am very excited about all the activity that’s been happening within the community and just building relationships,” Zeliff said. “We do coffee hour on Wednesdays, and one year ago, it was me and one person, and now it’s two dozen people. It’s exciting to see the room become full.”

Connecting Hands project

Goose Center expands offerings with market, exercise, art, and CPR

By Joanne Beck

Temperatures are plummeting, so perhaps it’s the perfect weekend to do some shopping inside during the debut of The Goose Community Center’s weekend Farmers Market, organizer Susan Zeliff says.

The market runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 33 South Main St., Oakfield.

Vendors include Zeliff Farms with beef; R & J Brewer with honey; Maple Moon Farms with maple syrup; Fresh from the L'Oven baked goods; and Papa Thom’s Rockin’ Bagels. More vendors will join in as the produce season arrives, Zeliff said.

“We will have breakfast sandwiches and coffee for sale,” she said. “If anyone is interested in being a part of this, they can call Nicole at (585) 813-2825.”

The Community Center has been ratcheting up its busy-ness level, and will also be hosting a “Groove” exercise class at 9 a.m. Tuesdays for $5 a class, she said. Taught by Shanda Spink, it is a higher-intensity program that will definitely “get your heart rate up,” Zeliff said.

“She offered January free to see the interests. This class was sparked by community members asking for this type of class,” Zeliff said. “We are hoping these classes will become a staple in our community, along with adding any others that are of interest to other members of our community.  Being able to provide healthy activities closer to home for our community is our goal.”

Another offering that was prompted by the collapse of Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin is an adult/child CPR and automated external defibrillator certification class from 9 to 11 a.m. Feb. 11. Cost is $50 and participants will be certified during this session taught by Kadi Hilchey, Zeliff said.

A training-only session will also be offered from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on March 9 for $25.

Scholarships are available for this course, and organizers hope to continue offering similar courses throughout the year, Zeliff said. For more information or to register, call (315) 730-0606 or go to the Center’s website.  

Every Sunday, beginning Feb. 19 through April 2, the Center will be hosting activities through its Learning Through Art Program, funded through a GO ART! grant.  There will be no charge to participants, but registration is required online beginning Feb. 10.

“Anyone who has a talent and would like to share it with the community, we welcome them to do so in our community center.  Currently, we have Beck O'Donnel, who does open card stamping the second Tuesday of each month from 1 to 8 p.m.,” Zeliff said, adding that classes are open to anyone. “They can stay the whole time or pop in for a little bit and then leave. We are hoping now that our community center is finished that, we keep it active.  Whether through renting out for meetings, showers, birthday parties, whatever the occasion, if someone needs more space than their home allows.”  

This (Learning Through Art) project is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrant Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by GO ART!

Photo of the Goose Community Center's market cooler packed and ready for Saturday, from its online site.

Haxton Memorial Library presents a special storytime for babies ages birth to 2 years

By Press Release

Press release:

Babies up to 2 years of age are invited to a morning of rhymes, singing songs and stories! While this describes a perfect morning for any tot, to make it even more fun, Baby Storytime ends with playtime!

The Haxton Library’s talented Mrs. J. is hosting a special Baby Storytime on Saturday, August 27 from 10 am to 11 am at the Goose, 33 South Main Street in Oakfield. While the program is designed for babies ages birth to 2 years, older siblings are also invited to attend. Beginning September 10, Mrs. J., the Children’s Library Clerk, will hold Baby Storytime at the library itself from 10 am to 11 am.

In addition to Baby Storytime, the Haxton Memorial Library also has a fun-filled Preschool Storytime on Mondays from 10:30 am to 11:30 am that begins September 12. Preschoolers enjoy activities, crafts, songs, and stories in the Children’s Department at the library.

“Our Storytimes are great favorites with our very young children because they are educational and Mrs. J. knows how to keep the kids engaged,” says Kim Gibson, Director at the Haxton Library. “We love to have the kids come and discover the fabulous collection of children’s books that we offer at the Haxton.”

For more information about Baby Storytime, Preschool Storytime, or any of the programs at the Haxton Memorial Library, please call 585-948-9900.

The Haxton Memorial Library located at 3 North Pearl Street in Oakfield provides residents a variety of programs, events and materials that are listed on the library’s website at

Photos: The Goose in Oakfield hosts fundraiser for The Warrior House

By Joanne Beck

At least 200 baskets filled with assorted goodies of gift cards and specialty items, wait for the bidding during a basket raffle fundraiser Saturday at Warrior House (housed in The Goose) on Route 63, Oakfield. 

Visitors line up to purchase tickets for a basket raffle fundraiser Saturday at the newly renovated The Goose, which also hosted an open house at the Route 5, Oakfield site. Fundraiser Coordinator Tina Bak, middle back, works with volunteers during the event.

Photos by Nick Serrata.

Oakfield's Goose hosts open house fundraiser for Warrior House

By Joanne Beck

What began as an innocent conversation at a parent meeting has turned into a new role and title for Tina Bak of Oakfield.

During the meeting that also included Susan Zeliff, who with her husband owns and operates The Goose and founded Warrior House, Bak learned that the wheels were not yet in motion for an upcoming benefit for the nonprofit.

“We were just chit chatting at the last PTO meeting that I came to — she has let us use the Goose … and she told me that she wanted to have this benefit during garage sale weekend in June, and hasn't started planning it yet. We got together and met like a couple days later, and I started calling around for donations,” Bak said during an interview with The Batavian. “She's like, ‘holy smokes, you're on a roll.’ She goes, you're not just my volunteer, you're the fundraiser coordinator.”

Bak has had great success in getting donations, with the total being more than 200 items for an upcoming basket raffle. Generous businesses have wanted to be part of the fundraising effort for this cause, and Bak has collected goods from “Buffalo to Rochester, and everywhere in between,” she said.

The event is an open house and basket raffle for Warrior House, and runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at The Goose, 33 South Main St., Oakfield.

Warrior House is a concept as much as a location. In fact, it stemmed from a conversation by the Zeliff family when deciding what to do with a farmhouse on a piece of property the family purchased. The original mission and location have changed and expanded, moving from Orleans to Genesee County and, in addition to supporting men and women veterans, it includes a food pantry, community center, meeting room, seasonal hunts and school supply, toy and clothing drives.

As of this past fall, the Zeliffs purchased the former Camp Hough property at Silver Lake, so they could also provide additional camping opportunities for veterans and their families. (See related article here.)

Proceeds from the basket and 50/50 raffles will help offset costs of community events such as paint nights, monthly community meals and arts and crafts activities for adults and children, all free of charge to the public.

“It’s been kind of fun, it’s just an exciting thing to see what we've secured. This is going to be a huge raffle. We've got something for everyone,” Bak said. “We've got dinner, and restaurants and entertainment, and just fun gift cards … we’ve got something for literally everyone.”

Golf packages worth up to $425, Maid of the Mist tickets, wine tours, an exercise bike, pizza for a year from Santino’s, a $250 Target gift card, Jim Kelly autographed football, $100 cash, NFL and NHL signed memorabilia, a GLOW YMCA family membership for a year in Batavia are just some of the raffle items.

Or maybe Stokoe Farms admission, Oliver’s, Alex’s Place and Eli Fish Brewing Company gift cards, a Valle Jewelers bracelet, a Miss Buffalo cruise, a Mary Kay beauty basket and a Batavia Downs Gaming stay and play package are more enticing.

For higher value items, tickets are $1 each, $5 for six or $10 for 12, and remaining basket raffle items are $5 for a sheet of 26 tickets or $10 for three sheets. A 50/50 raffle will be $1 per ticket, $5 for six tickets or $10 for 12.

The Goose has become the central hub for many activities and events, and it has been getting some major touch-ups this past year. Some grant monies have helped to pay for renovations, including a commercial kitchen still in progress, Bak said.

The site has been topped with a new roof, while inside renovation progress is near completion. The food pantry, which has its own location within the building, and the Community Room, are still in progress, the bathrooms are finished and a commercial kitchen is nearing the finish line. Another addition, probably for next summer, will be a Farmers Market location within the building.

The food pantry helps out 50 to 60 families each month, and a Christmastime toy and clothing drive helped out untold numbers of folks during that season. A common phrase nowadays is food insecurity, which simply means that folks are struggling to make ends meet, pay their bills and also put a meal on the table for the family.

It’s all  “pretty cool,” Bak said.

“We hope to see it being used by the community for events, dinners, activities, and by groups to who need a space for meetings or other activities,” Bak said. “We are excited to have this project come to fruition. We would not be where we are now without the donations from our generous sponsors."

For more information, email or call (315) 730-0606. Tickets may be purchased during the open house or online with Venmo or PayPal. When ordering online, indicate if the purchase is for the 50/50 or basket raffle. A gallery of baskets are online for viewing at The Goose on Facebook. For online orders, pay to Susan Zeliff and @warriorhousewny

Photos: A large display of baskets are being prepared in the Community Center at The Goose in Oakfield. Photos submitted by Tina Bak.

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