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Colorful sculpture to adorn Buffalo's new public safety building

Buffalo Preservation Board

When the new Public Safety Building opens in downtown Buffalo, there will be a colorful concrete sculpture in front, with colors to represent police, fire and the historic use of the Michael J. Dillon Building as a courthouse.

Credit Buffalo Preservation Board

The Buffalo Arts Commission is planning to spend $12,000 for a sculpture from Jonathan Casey to sit in front of what was the federal courthouse. It is being converted to Buffalo's Public Safety Building and will house both the city's police and fire departments.

The sculpture is a cast concrete work with 32 painted concrete stars to represent the city's 32 neighborhoods. The project was approved by city Preservation Board.

"There's a nice description of the colors in it. The colors chosen, red, blue and yellow-gray represent both police and fire departments and the historical motif of the building," said Preservation Board Chair Paul McDonnell. "The installation seeks to demonstrate the interconnectedness of all the neighborhoods with the city's police and fire departments."

Arts Commission Executive Director Emerson Barr said it will add some lightness to a section of Court Street flanked by two government office buildings.

"As the buildings are built, we put art in that integrates and fully captures the essence of the esthetic beauty of the building. This is typically what the Buffalo Arts Commission does," said Barr. "So we'll add some color to it, definitely, reflecting the first responders and the traditional colors of the police and fire departments."

Barr said the Arts Commission has been told by Mayor Byron Brown to again start spending 1 percent of construction costs of a construction project on art. Barr said the sculpture will be strong.

"One piece with a steel rod going through it and integrally dyed concrete," Barr said.

Barr said there will have to be some long-term maintenance to periodically touch up the red, blue and yellow-gray paint Casey will apply.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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