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Arts & Culture

Albright-Knox brings Public Art Initiative to walls of Hertel Avenue deli

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery has formally introduced the latest entry in its Public Art Initiative. It's visible to neighbors who travel along a busy street in North Buffalo.

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery's Public Art Initiative has formally introduced its latest mural, visible to passers-by in Buffalo's Hertel Avenue neighborhood. On the east and west sides of the building where Joe's Deli is housed, at Hertel and Colvin, giant bisons are painted over a blue background, adorned with various flowers.

Those flowers are influenced by Eastern European art said the artist, Bunnie Reiss. She's a Maryland native who lives in Los Angeles and explained that she wanted to produce images that will spark positive feelings, to help people at the end of a long work day or in the middle of a Buffalo winter.

"I usually try to put an element of nature in every single mural," she said. " This one had a lot of floral elements but I wanted an animal on it. I thought it'd be a really nice way, as an out-of-town artist, to celebrate the area and celebrate the history by adding a buffalo."

Joseph Lyons, owner of Joe's Deli, explained he had been approached two years ago about the possibility of hosting one of the Albright-Knox Public Art Initiative's projects. He's pleased to have the murals on his building.

"When I've brought my children over here the past few days, their eyes just light up," he said. "I've seen it from other families, taking pictures in front of it. To be a part of that, I think it's great to bring smiles to the people of the area here."

The New Era Cap Foundation is providing financial support to the Albright-Knox Public Art Initiative through the summer of 2018. The City of Buffalo is also providing partial support for the project. Council member Joel Feroleto welcomes the murals as a colorful addition to an already vibrant and walkable neighborhood.

"This is absolutely a walkable neighborhood. You can go to a grocery store, go to a restaurant, go to get your hair cut," Feroleto said. "You can do anything you need and it's all in walking distance. To have art and public art be part of that experience, when people are walking around, it's just absolutely incredible."

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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