You may have spotted a few Albright-Knox Public Art Initiative works before realizing it—and that was by design.
“We started with temporary pieces. There was ‘Buffalo Caverns,’ a drawing tape mural at Buffalo & Erie County Public Library’s Central Library. Then we followed with Matthew Hoffman’s ‘You Are Beautiful,’ which was a limited series of 44 billboards with that statement on them,” said Aaron Ott, public art curator at Albright-Knox Art Gallery. “The idea was once you start taking it down, people realize how much they liked it. Then you can start having a conversation on permanent pieces.”
But nothing could really prepare Buffalo for what came next.
She was half-girl, half-fish and got us all to dip our feet in the waters of public art. It’s Casey Riordan Millard’s “Shark Girl,” which debuted at Canalside in August of 2014. With her toothy grin and hands neatly folded in lap, “Shark Girl” invited us to take a seat next to her—and by doing so, engage with art.
“People often have their guards up in a museum setting, but in public spaces they feel completely safe to approach art and say, ‘I love this!’ or ‘I don’t like this!’ It helps people recognize the value of it,” added Ott.
In the spirit of interacting with art, here’s where you can find it this summer. All you have to do is look:
If you haven’t seen her yet, please check out Casey Riordan Millard’s “Shark Girl” at the Boardwalk. You won’t regret it—and you’ll have the photo to prove it.
While this is a walking tour, a short eight-minute ride will take you to our next stop at Wilkeson Pointe at the Outer Harbor. “ONE through ZERO” by Robert Indiana was made available in conjunction with Indiana’s exhibition at Albright-Knox but will remain on display through September 2019.
Kick off this portion of the tour at Buffalo Center of Arts and Technology. There, you’ll see “Dream Keepers” by New York-based artist, Alice Mizrachi. The mural, a collaboration with Mayor Byron Brown’s Summer Youth Program, depicts a woman with sweeping green hair full of flower blossoms alongside a man with his eyes closed.
A 20-minute walk down Main Street will take you to Shea’s 710 Theater for “Noodle in the Northern Lights” by Baltimore-based artist team, Jessie and Katey. Their work explores themes of movement and symmetry and is inspired by bold color combinations. Check. Check. Check.
Next, head in the direction of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library because on your way you’ll see “Wildflowers for Buffalo” at 465 Washington Street. Buffalo’s largest mural, by Detroit-based Louise Jones, dramatically incorporates aspects of period design, hatpins and flora native to Western New York.
Start this leg of the tour at “Work and Play” by Poland-based artist, Otecki (Wojciech Kołacz). It’s located at 617 Fillmore Avenue across from the Adam Mickiewicz Library, the oldest Polish American organization in WNY and host to very popular annual Dyngus Day party.
A five-minute walk north will take you to “Welcome Wall” by Keir Johnston and Ernel Martinez at 751 Fillmore Avenue. Formerly the Copacabana Jazz Club, the building had previously sat vacant for over a decade. The mural incorporates the word “Welcome” in the 13 languages representative of this diverse neighborhood: Arabic, Bengali, Burmese, English, Farsi, French, German, Polish, Seneca, Spanish, Somali, Urdu and Vietnamese.
After, make a left on Broadway towards the Broadway Market and in eight minutes time you’ll see “Our Colors Make Us Beautiful” by Muhammad Zaman, whose work caught Ott’s eye as he was passing through the Buffalo Arts Studio.
East Ferry Street/East Delavan
The corner of Michigan Avenue and East Ferry Street is keeper of “The Freedom Trail,” a mural that transforms the concrete wall into portraits of 28 notable civil rights leaders. Artists John Baker, Julia Bottoms, Chuck Tingley and Edreys Wajed generated the list of subjects from multiple public meetings with community members.
From here, a 30-walk or five-minute drive will get you to 537 E. Delavan to see “Dance Everyday.” You may recognize the simple linework from a recent exhibit at Albright-Knox. Shantell Martin is the first artist to install work simultaneously at the museum and in the community.
Find the first piece, “weego,” at the building that houses Lloyd Taco Factory at 1503 Hertel Ave. The mural is by Buffalo’s Chuck Tingley and his painting partner, Cincinnati-based artist Matt Grote, and it features the duo’s childhood themes.
Next, stroll down Hertel, roughly seven minutes, to Joe’s Deli, where you’ll see “Magic Buffalo.” Artist Bunnie Reiss was passing through the area and reached out to Aaron Ott, who quickly secured 1322 Hertel Avenue for a mural. Reiss originally came with a horse design but fittingly landed on a buffalo instead. This entire piece was complete in less than five weeks.
Two-minutes away is “We Are Here” by Buffalo-based graphic design firm White Bicycle with Brian Grunert at the helm. The mural is a dynamic take on a map of the area. If you step back or even cross the street, you’ll notice the word “WE” emerge.
Roswell Park is home to “Walk Through,” a sculpture in two parts by Beverly Pepper. It’s designed to reflect the natural surroundings and to allow us to see ourselves as part of the sculpture.
If you head towards Main Street and make a right, you’re six minutes from the Allen/Medical Campus Station, which features “Gut Flora,” an installation by Buffalo-based artist, Shasti O’Leary Soudant.
More spots to seek out art
72 Jewett: A mural by Buffalo-based artist Daniel Galas at the Koch Metal Spinning building.
585 Niagara Street: “Patria, Será Porque Quisiera Que Vueles, Que Sigue Siendo Tuyo Mi Vuelo” mural by artist, activist and educator Betsy Casañas.
Richardson Olmsted Campus: A sculpture by Jim Hodges titled “look and see.”
Tifft Nature Preserve: “Locus Amoenus” sculpture by Roberley Bell.
Bassett Park: A sculpture by Shayne Dark, “Tanglewood.”
Story topics: Discover