Public Art - Table of Contents

Yellow Bird mural
3168 Main Street, Buffalo, NY

By Elyssa Harper

Also by Elya Harper/fivefootHarp:  Two murals on Hertel Alley

On Oct. 26, 2013, about a dozen writers, as graffiti artists are called, used a rainbow of spray cans to cover up existing tags with colorful, complex “pieces” (short for “masterpieces”) at 16 sites along Main Street near the South Campus. Neighborhood kids helped them fill in the lines, while other volunteers, including many UB students, scrubbed old graffiti from wood and vinyl siding.

Their efforts were part of “Heighten the Heights,” a recent anti-graffiti event bankrolled by a grant from Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s leading nonprofit for community development. Organizers included local public arts group Community Canvases, the University Heights Collaborative and the University Heights Tool Library, a tool rental shop co-founded by architecture and urban planning alumnus Darren Cotton.

The grant, says Cotton, gave organizers the opportunity “to test the theory that public art is the best abatement to graffiti. These long-forgotten back alleys and buildings have become neighborhood assets and help people appreciate the beauty that already surrounds them.”

- Lauren Newkirk Maynard, "Walls of Whimsy," At Buffalo  (online June 2020)
2015 photos































Photos and their arrangement 2015 Chuck LaChiusa
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