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Buffalo is a playland of visual stimuli where a healthy appreciation for the arts is a part of everyday life, and drawing on walls is encouraged! Thanks to an abundance of talented local artists and the support of projects like Albright-Knox’s Public Art Initiative, public spaces have been adorned with sculptures and murals that embody the spirit of the Queen City and the varying cultures that call it home.

In celebration of our city's growing and thriving public art scene, we will be exploring the best of Buffalo's artists and their creations as we work to develop an interactive directory. For now, here's a sample of a few places to see public art as you stroll or ride through the 716:

Albright Knox Gallery Campus

While some of Buffalo’s finest curated collections can be found inside the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, fascinating displays are also right outside of the building. There are more than 15 sculptures on the gallery's campus, including pieces by famous artist Robert Indiana as part of the museum’s exhibit, Robert Indiana: A Sculpture Retrospective (through Spetember 23). Also worth mentioning as part of this exhibit: the NUMBERS ONE through ZERO installation at Wilkeson Pointe on the Outer Harbor.

The Albright-Knox’s outdoor art includes pieces spanning across generations, from recent additions like Underlife (2013) by Jason Middlebrook, to historic pieces such as the Eight Caryatid Figures (1906) by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Here are a few mesmerizing pieces that you can enjoy even before walking through the gallery’s doors:

Elmwood Avenue

The pieces that adorn the grounds of the Albright-Knox are not Elmwood Avenue’s only offerings in the way of public art. Other interesting sights include:

The Buffalo News: Now and Then, the mural on the wall at 1088 Elmwood Ave. where Parkway Haircutting is located. Zoom, Nikola Tesla, the mural located on the exterior wall at 727 Elmwood Ave. outside of Forty Thieves Kitchen & Bar. Eden, the sculpture by Judith Shea on the median at Elmwood and Bidwell. Feast, the mural by Bruce Adams and Augustina Droze, on the exterior wall at 938 Elmwood Ave. outide of Jim’s Steakout.

Jewett Avenue

The two murals found along Jewett are both among Buffalo’s most unique public art offerings. 72 Jewett  by Daniel Galas adorns the exterior of Koch Metal Spinning (address 74 Jewett), featuring depictions of historical sites like the Buffalo Zoo’s Elephant House, the Kensington Water Tower and St. Mark's Catholic Church on Woodward Avenue, among others.

Walk just one block further and you will see the Tower of Power by Team Razor Wire at 45 Jewett Parkway where gold bricks with overlaying lines bursting with color create an eye-catching display.

Buffalo's East Side

The revitalization of Buffalo's East Side has brought with it more public art. This historically culture-rich area of the city is looking brighter already.

Recently completed as part of the AK Public Art Initiative - The Freedom Wall, an immense and important mural featuring 28 portraits of civil rights leaders painted on the corner of Michigan Avenue and East Ferry Street by John Baker, Julia Bottoms, Chuck Tingley and Edrys Wajed makes a strong statement about the heritage of African-Americans.  Also check out Welcome Wall, the mural painted at 751 Fillmore Ave. by Keir Johnston & Ernel Marinez.

Me, My City, My Future is a small yet impactful mural painted on the side of the Mattress Lofts at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Florida Street by East Community High School students working with UB.

Hertel Avenue

One of Buffalo’s most vibrant avenues got even livelier last year with the addition of some exciting new murals on a few of its shops and eateries. Find styles ranging from figurative to literal representations of "Buffalo" and artistic tributes to beloved musicians, such as a tribute to Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie on Hertel Liquor Library. Keep an eye out for these colorful works of art:

Magic Buffalo, the mural by Bunnie Reiss at 1322 Hertel Ave., outside Joe’s Deli. Gord Downie, the mural by Rory Allen at 1669 Hertel Ave., on the side of Hertel Liquor Library. Chuck Tingley & Matt Grote (Ogre), weego – mural located at 1509 Hertel Ave., on the exterior of Purrfect Café and Gallery. Mario Zuca & Zoom Copy, Hertel Walls – mural located at1297 Hertel Ave., on the side of MVP Network Consulting  Mural on side of Daily Planet Café at 1862 Hertel Avenue

Each year, the city expands its repertoire of public art with permanent and seasonal installations that inspire and capture those who pass by. Have fun exploring and share with us your favorite art pieces around the city! #vibewithus

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I'Jaz Eberhardt

Writer, art and music enthusiast, flower child of journalism
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