Art of the City

The Freedom Wall with Martin Luther King depicted fifth from the left.
Susan Ettmayr

There’s more to Buffalo in New York state then magnificent churches, the largest inland naval park, the Flying Bison Brewing Company, and deep-fried buffalo wings at the original Anchor Bar, writes SUE ETTMAYR

Having awoken recently from a 60-year depressive slumber, the city is now rated number 37 in the New York Times of 52 places to go in the USA.  Its breathtaking architectural works include Frank Lloyd Wright buildings and the art deco City Hall, which has detail outside and inside from floor to lifts, doors, walls and ceilings. Catch the free and informative guided tour at midday.

Mark Twain against the backdrop of one of the intricate stairways at the building that was once home to his newspaper.

The Ellicott Square Building was once the site of the Buffalo Express. The co-owner of the newspaper was Samuel L. Clemens aka Mark Twain. Although famous for his Huckleberry Finn novel, he penned 30 editorials and over 70 columns and reviews while at the newspaper. A Mark Twain life size sculpture is seated on a bench next to one of the intricate wrought iron stairways in the Ellicott.

On the public holiday, to commemorate Martin Luther King, it seemed fitting to visit the Freedom Wall (main image above). A team of Buffalonian artists painted portraits of 28 civil rights leaders from America’s past and present in 2017. The once stark large concrete wall surrounds the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) bus maintenance depot.

The impressive outside of the Hotel Henry, previously a home for up to 1,200 mentally ill patients

The Hotel Henry, once a home for up to 1,200 mentally ill patients, is operational with 80 rooms, coffee shops and art galleries showcasing Buffalonian modern art. This huge rambling building lay dormant for years.

With some 80 art galleries around the city, the Albright-Knox art gallery is not to be missed. The gallery motto is “Out of sight! Art of the senses.” The saffron tent is one such tickler. Join the queue and take a breather. Inside are six little bar-stools and a choice of four teas. Sip on a small cup of aromatic tea, meet fellow art lovers for a brief moment and move on. The special exhibition by Japanese flavour of the century, Takashi Murakami, was electric, when I went.

Art advisor, Hungarian-born benefactress Katalin Mechtler poses with one of Sarah Myers’s artworks

Modern Buffalonian art pops out from every wall of the 12-storeyed John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital. The art advisor was none other than local resident and Hungarian-born art aficionado and benefactress Katalin Mechtler.

Sarah Fonzi’s art studio at the Eleven Twenty Projects.

A visit to the Eleven Twenty Projects showcased the works of Buffalonian artists Sarah Fonzi and Sarah Myers, famous for her modern art and life size collection of trees in oils. Sarah Fonzi creates plaster reliefs and works with architectural elements of interior spaces, creating compositions from their various textures.

The author, Sue Ettmeyr poses with the only Canalside resident – Shark Girl, next to the beginnings of art on the grain elevators – Canadian beer.

The disused grain elevators at Canalside are being transformed into art and its only permanent resident, Shark Girl, was created by local artist Casey Riordan Millard.