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Public art partnership announces three newest works

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

A continuing public art initiative led by the Albright Knox Art Gallery is growing, with three new works just announced for locations within the City of Buffalo. The first of the works was formally dedicated Thursday on Main Street.

On the side of the building that houses the Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology at Main Street at Coe Place is a large mural, depicting a young man and woman. Each wear a symbol of security - a lock and key - and the woman's green hair flows to the right, appearing to morph into long vegetation. Also on the mural is a rainbow, which was explained to be added following the recent shootings at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Students at BCAT who painted the mural were guided by visiting New York City artist and educator Alice Mizrachi.

"We had a bunch of research classroom sessions before we started," Mizrachi explained. "We talked about the divide between the east and west side of Main Street. We talked about how to bridge the gap and what we can do with our messages, positively, to do that."

The students had read works of Langston Hughes and focused on the word "dream," explained Aaron Ott, Curator of Public Art for Albright Knox. 

"I think what we see here is the representation of that dream, the way that the students drem about the future of Buffalo, a Buffalo that celebrates diversity, that has harmonious relationships between peoples and communities," Ott said. 

The next work announced, a mural to be painted by Buffalo-based Daniel artist Daniel Galas, will be completed in coming weeks at 74 Jewett near Main, the Koch Metal Spinning building.

The third work announced Thursday is an upcoming installation set to go up at the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority's Allen Street Station. The installation, known as Gut Flora, is being created by artist Shasti O'Leary Soudant.

Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO
Visiting artist Alice Mizrachi (front center, in long dress) stands with staff and students of the Buffalo Center for Arts and technology in front of the mural those students created with her guidance.

"The artist helps show how our subway system is, in many ways, analogous to the human body," said NFTA executive Kimberley Minkel. "There's the circulatory system, there's the digestive system, and what these body systems transport is essential to the life of the human body, just like helping to move people is essential to the vibrancy of the community."

The Albright Knox Public Art Initiative has led the installation of numerous works throughout Buffalo and the suburbs, in partnership with the City of Buffalo and County of Erie.

"Great art, throughout our community, inspires and engages us," said Janne Sirén, the Albright Knox Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director. "It promotes the kind of collaboration, dialogue, human understanding and interaction that allows people from all walks of life to participate in our community's shared renaissance."

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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