Hispanics in Buffalo, NY  ...........................  Public Art  - Table of Contents

Mural - Homeland, Perhaps It is Because I Wish to See You Fly
583 Niagara Street, Buffalo, NY
SE corner of Jersey Street, Buffalo NY

Mural by Betsy Casañas

On this page, below:

The Building

The Mural

Betsy Casañas Mural to Instill Pride in Buffalo’s Latino Community

West elevation (Niagara Street)   ...   Detailed below:

Corbel table near top   ...   Puerto Rican woman

Note cast iron columns...   Detailed below:

Fluted cast iron column

Fluted cast iron column

North (Jersey Street) elevation detailed below:

Tradtitional Spanish dancer

Tradtitional Spanish dancer


Indigenous woman planting food

Industrial background

Artist's signature:  Betsy Casañas   ...   History detailed below:

Partial reprint

Betsy Casañas Mural to Instill Pride in Buffalo’s Latino Community
By Queenseyes
Buffalo Rising, July 28, 2017

How does a work of public art take shape? That’s the question that I posed to Eric Jones, the Albright-Knox’s public art project coordinator. In the case of Buffalo’s latest mural project, which is now underway, it started with identifying a building within Buffalo’s Latino community. The building happened to be that of Bernice Radle, a fantastic painted brick building that she purchased a few months ago, located at the corner of Niagara Street and Jersey Street. Bernice figured that since the building was already painted, why not get it “really painted”.

Bernice Radle, Betsy Casañas, Eric Jones

Next, the AK set out to identify an artist who would represent the Latino community. That artist turned out to be the prolific Betsy Casañas, who has been painting public works of art world-wide for 23 years. She’s also considered “the queen bee of murals” in Philadelphia, according to Bernice. In the case of the Mural (title TBD), this paint is not being adhered directly to the building. Instead, 140 (5’x5) parachute wrap panels are being pre-painted, which will then be installed on the building.

In order to get this massive mural completed, there’s a sort of “paint by numbers” initiative underway. Currently, crews of painters are busy coloring in the panels via a series of Public Paint Days. When I ran into this particular paint group, they had taken over every square inch of Radle’s 800 square foot commercial space, which is currently available for lease (corner spot – next to Jackson Hewitt).

From there, the Public Paint Days will move to the downtown Central Library, where painters will continue to color the panels in order to accomplish an end of August completion date.

According to Casañas, the mural speaks to a people, and tells the story of why they moved to cities like Buffalo, in search of jobs in the steel industry, for example. It’s about planting seeds in foreign soils, and the hardships of leaving home. It’s also about preserving heritage and keeping culture alive. The artwork and the colors in the mural depict the blue ocean waters of Puerto Rico, the famous Peruvian textiles and traditional lace patterns. There’s also a nod to African and Spanish influences.

The materials used in this process have a lifespan of up to 30 years, which means that this particular mural will be around for a long time. The main wall used in the public artwork faces north, which means that the sun will not fade it much over time.

Photos and their arrangement © 2018 Chuck LaChiusa
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