Masten Park - Table of Contents...................... Public Art  - Table of Contents

Ray of Light mural

Masten Street, Masten Park, Buffalo, NY

This mural is in honor of all those people whose lives have been affected by domestic violence, bullying and despair.

October 2015
Mural: Designed and painted by Augustina Droze
Mural definition:
Painting or other work of art executed directly on a wall.

Two glass Mosaic columns:
Designed by Augustina Droze & Megan McElf.
Created by Megan McElf, McElf GlassWorks
Mosaic definition:
A pattern, either geometric or figurative, formed by inlaying small pieces of stone, tile, glass, or enamel into a cement, mortar, or plaster matrix.

Official dedication:
"It still hasn’t been dedicated. The city is supposed to re-install lighting and allow us to put up signs. Fix stairs, fix railings… actually mow the grass! But we just get silence from city hall on getting those things done and getting it dedicated. We’d love to dedicate it in October, for Domestic Abuse Awareness Month. Maybe next year [2019]."  - Megan McElf in a private email on November 6, 2018

2015 photo by David Torke

2018 photos

Details below, from left to right:

Mural and  glass mosaic column

Mural detail

Dove imagery in the center of the mural is reinforced by flanking  glass mosaic  columns that also, in part, depict doves.  See Megan McElf's description of the columns below.
 Left glass column is detailed below:

Left glass mosaic  column capitalsunburst   ...   Column background consists of 8,500 1” tiles, all hand-cut from large sheets of glass

Left glass mosaic column medallion  ...  
"The medallions, originally designed by Droze, were originally Buddhist hands but obviously there can be no inkling of religious symbology on city property – the goal was to create a welcoming, reflective space for all, so I combined the wings of a dove, the wings of a butterfly, and the spiral from the Buddhist hands that was original to the design, but then stretched it out to be more representative of the Fibonacci… and ended up with something that I felt anyone could find something familiar about." - Megan McElf in a private email on November 6, 2018

Fibonacci: The Fibonacci sequence is a set of numbers that starts with a one or a zero, followed by a one, and proceeds based on the rule that each number (called a Fibonacci number) is equal to the sum of the preceding two numbers.   ... 
Three details below:

Left glass mosaic medallion  detail

Left glass mosaic medallion  detail

Left glass mosaic medallion  detail

Four details below:


Right column glass mosaic medallion


By Megan McElf
McElf Glassworks May 28, 2015 (online Nov. 2018)

Yesterday I had the honor of meeting the staff and artists from Buffalo Arts Studio that are making the Ray of Light Project possible.  I've been brought on board to bring the proposed mosaic portion of the project into reality if that much funding can be secured.

So… What is the "Ray of Light "Project?

On October 1, 2014, the Goldsmith family of Buffalo lost a beloved family member,
Jerald (Dee Dee) Goldsmith, to a violent crime that took her life at just 52 years old and left her seven children without a mother. Now, Dee Dee's family is turning their grief into action for good by joining forces with members of the community to create a mural at Masten Park, the location where Dee Dee lost her life, and an area that is described by neighbors as being known for vandalism and crime.

In memory of Dee Dee, the mural will be created to shed a “ray of light” on her memory, promote peace, and provide information on anti-violence and anti-bullying resources for the public. The Ray of Light mural project has quickly become a city-wide campaign to revitalize and beautify a dismal area, and take a stand against domestic violence and bullying.

In addition to the artwork adding to the beautification of the site, the area will be cleaned out, landscaping will be added, and increased lighting will serve as a deterrent to prevent such incidents from recurring – making it a safer environment for all. The mural's positive imagery and safer conditions at the location will be inspiring to the public, making the area one of reflection and remembrance for victims of violence, bullying, and their families. The vision of Dee Dee's family is to do something to turn a situation from hopeless into something that can provide hope for others. 

"It still hasn’t been dedicated. The city is supposed to re-install lighting and allow us to put up signs. Fix stairs, fix railings… actually mow the grass! But we just get silence from city hall on getting those things done and getting it dedicated. We’d love to dedicate it in October, for Domestic Abuse Awareness Month. Maybe next year [2019]."  - Megan McElf in a private email on November 6, 2018]

Many local organizations have come together to support this very important community project including: Buffalo Arts Studio (BAS), Buffalo Public Schools, City Parks Department, the Family Justice Center, and YWCA of Niagara County. It is anticipated that more groups will come on board as the project evolves.

Recently, BAS issued an open call for mural artists to submit proposals, and after careful review of the submissions, local artist
Augustina Droze was selected to create the design for the Ray of Light mural project. Her proposed design displays a strong but serene message of non-violence.

A very special component of the Ray of Light mural project is the involvement of BAS Jump Start program students. The Jump Start program offers artistic education to middle and high-school students who display an exceptional interest in the arts, and have limited access to advanced art instruction. The Jump Start program empowers youth to explore their interest in art, develop a portfolio, and prepare for entry into college. Students who are selected to receive tuition sponsorships are chosen because they are truly gifted, but need financial assistance.

BAS will offer stipends to Jump Start high-school students who come from low-income families, to work on the mural project as part of their hands-on education and training. Students will have the opportunity to be part of the entire process, from instruction on the many steps involved in project development and budget creation, to wall preparation and mural painting.

Once the mural and the site improvements are complete, a public unveiling and dedication ceremony will be held at the site in October, 2015. October is not only the same month that Dee Dee was killed, it is also National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. BAS is currently working on a collaborative effort to include local domestic violence and anti-bullying organizations in the ceremony.

So here's the design and the plan:

Ray of Light Mural Design arrow columns

I've got red arrows pointing to the proposed mosaic columns.  These columns measure approximately 4 feet wide by 14 feet tall and there is talk of wrapping the design around the column.

Wow.  Talk about a monumental task ahead!

So into fundraising we go! Even though I'm really just a subcontractor here, I have a lot of interest in this topic from my “previous life” working in forensic science and always feeling strongly about the needs for the rights and recognition of rape and domestic violence victims and their families.  So I've got some phone calls to make…

… and I've got some thinking and designing to do to figure out some technicalities and make a plan.  If funded, it seems like we won't have a lot of time to build this thing out.  The hope seems to be a completion in time for an October (yes, of THIS YEAR) dedication…

Stay tuned!

Partial reprint

Ray of Light Mural Completed @ Masten Park
By Queenseyes
Buffalo Rising, November 10, 2015 ( online Nov. 2018)

The final artistic components have been applied to the highly anticipated
Masten Park mural called “Ray of Light”. The glass mosaics created by McElf GlassWorks now grace the Masten Avenue entranceway to the park. The mosaics were created in tandem with a mural painted by artist Augustina Droze. The public work of art was commissioned to honor the life of of Jerald (Dee Dee) Goldsmith, the mother of seven who was found murdered in Masten Park last October.

Ever since this work of art started, I have found myself taking my dog to Masten Park to get some exercise. It's a great park that has a ton of potential. First of all, it's located directly across from the Masten Avenue Armory and just down from City Honors School. Second, it's got a ton of amenities that include a splash pad, a playground, a pool, a jogging track, changing rooms, four basketball courts, and a softball diamond. Thirdly, it bounds the Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion.

The park has needs though. As much as it initially appears to be in pretty good shape, there are some easy fixes that should be conducted right away. Some of the park benches are broken, which is a sign of neglect. I didn't see any bike racks, which is unfortunate. Also, there is a super dated and faded mural that could use a redo.

The Ray of Light Mural is a great first step towards adding life and vibrancy to this park. Getting to this park from Elmwood/Allentown area is easy breezy. Each time that I have paid a visit in recent weeks, I have found the grounds relatively unfrequented. There's so much potential, which unfortunately took a tragedy to realize. Last evening my wife accompanied me on my regular jaunt to the park. After playing around with our dog for a while she exclaimed that there was something very special about the park, and wanted to come back again the next time I was planning an outing. She loved the mural, the elevated park setting, and a gated area (on three sides) towards the back of the park where our dog could run freely without having to worry about cars.

A park is what you make of it. In the case of
Masten Park,  there is limitless potential to continue on with these initial artistic efforts that have already provided one family with a newfound affinity for a relatively unfamiliar public park setting.


The Mosaic Project
By Megan McElf  (online Nov. 2018)

The two columns which form the Ray of Light Mosaic are a 114 square feet. In total, the project used over 140 square feet of glass material, 150 pounds of concrete, and more caffeine than could possibly be tracked.

The columns are built from 14 individual panels, put together like a puzzle on site. Almost 20,000 pieces were created and used to create the project. The background alone is comprised of 8,500 1” tiles, all hand-cut from large sheets of glass.

All said and done, in a little over a month and a half, between September and mid-October 2016, McElf and two assistants put in over 650 hours to build the monumental mosaics. Installation would take another week and a half in early November.

Except where noted, 2018 photos and their arrangement 2018 Chuck LaChiusa
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