Thanks to the rich art scene in Buffalo Niagara, it’s easy to find outdoor entertainment options that are both interesting and safe! Get outside and have a blast exploring the public art of Buffalo Niagara. Check out our guide below.
by Meg Bennett
Have a blast exploring the many amazing public art pieces scattered throughout Buffalo Niagara
It goes without saying: keeping busy during a pandemic is tough! Festivals have been canceled. Businesses are restricted. Travel plans have been overturned. It’s easy to become discouraged in light of so much bad news, but guess what: we haven’t given up on finding new ways to have fun this summer! Here at Welcome 716, we believe that entertainment is a healthy part of life. That’s why we’re getting creative. Today we invite you to explore some of the amazing public art displays around the Buffalo Niagara region (while practicing social distancing of course).
Here are some of our favorites to get you started. Click on any image to find it’s location on Google Maps:
The location of The Freedom Wall marks the northern entrance of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor, where Buffalo’s oldest church, Bethel AME, once served in the Underground Railroad. Photo: Albright Knox
Buffalo artists teamed up for the jaw-dropping The Freedom Wall, a tribute to the city’s rich African-American heritage. At the corner of Michigan Avenue and East Ferry Street, you will find the faces of 28 African-American individuals—one upon each wall panel—who have contributed to the ongoing work of creating a society where black citizens are treated with equal rights, protection, dignity and respect. The subjects for The Freedom Wall were determined by several community meetings along with a committee of local historians, activists and artists. This location marks the northern entrance of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor, where Buffalo’s oldest church (Bethel AME) once served in the Underground Railroad. Come and experience a beautiful marriage of art and history that continues to impact the world today!
Balancing Act II by Akash Nihalani is a stunning optical illusion. Photo: Albright Knox
You’ll have a hard time believing that the Balancing Act II sculpture isn’t Photoshopped, but trust us – it’s the real deal! The artist has created a free-standing, three-dimensional piece that looks like a giant two-dimensional drawing—yes, drawing—of blocks precariously stacked and on the verge of tipping over. Not only is the artwork alone worth the trip, but it also happens to reside outside of Five Points Bakery, which features tasty treats and hexagonal picnic tables under the shade of an old sugar maple. Hello, date night!
The beauty of Dance Everyday by Shantell Martin is in the thousands of details. Photo: Albright Knox
At first glance, you might not find black lines on a white background particularly remarkable. However, the beauty of Dance Everyday by Shantell Martin piece is in the details: the perseverance of seemingly endless lines, the curious faces, and the whimsical figures dancing about. Look closer and you’ll see more pictures in Dance Everyday: landforms, the sea, a ladder, a stairway and more. Uplifting messages are scattered throughout the design: “Yes we can. Up, up, up. Today. Shine.” There’s a lot to behold in this labor of love, created by a British artist who works her design onto any canvas, be it a white pair of shoes or the face of a passerby. Be sure to head over to 537 East Delevan Street and check it out.
Optichromie by Felipe Pantone. Photo: Albright Knox
On the back of the Town Ballroom, you will find Optichromie by Felipe Pantone: a mesmerizing art mural with a digital flavor, birthed by one graffiti artist’s desire to stand out from the rest of the pack! Optichromie’s stark black and white patterns contrast with prismatic shapes to create the illusion of overlapping computer screens – an optimist’s nod to the future of technology. Come and take in this transformative piece on Washington Street, between East Tupper Street and East Chippewa Street.
Walk Through by Beverly Pepper. Photo: Albright Knox
There is something to be said about Walk Through by Beverly Pepper, an industrial sculpture that draws a person into his or her surroundings. Rather than competing with nature, Walk Through showcases a polished stainless steel exterior to reflect landscaping and entice viewers to see themselves as a part of the installation. The interior of Walk Through is bright blue, which tones down its geometric appearance while creating a more open (but contained) space. Come and witness the magic at 87 Carlton Street.
Get a glimpse of Mark Twain & John T. Lewis’ friendship in Untitled by Eduardo Kobra, located on Hertel Ave. adjacent to Ristorante Lombardo. Photo: Albright Knox
A picture is worth a thousand words, and a colorful mural such as Untitled by Eduardo Kobra has a compelling voice! Once a resident of Western New York, and well-known for his literary masterpieces, Mark Twain lived out a story of his own. One fateful day, his sister-in-law was steering a buggy with her daughter in tow and suddenly lost control of her horse. An oncoming coachman, a black man by the name of John T. Lewis, quickly steered his horses across their path. With strong arms, he grabbed the frantic horse by the reigns and narrowly stopped Twain’s loved ones from plunging off of a cliff. From that day forward, Twain and Lewis became good friends, and this friendship forever impacted Twain’s perspective on race in America. Get a glimpse of their friendship in Untitled at 1188 Hertel Avenue.
Don’t miss out
Thanks to the rich art scene in Buffalo Niagara, it’s easy to find entertainment options that are both interesting and safe! We hope that this list has offered you a fresh hope for the future as you seek to fill in your calendar. Keep safe, and we hope you have a blast exploring Buffalo Niagara this week!