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Students holding their new art kits at the Buffalo Elementary School of Technology #6

Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director Janne Sirén, Buffalo Public Schools Supervisor of Art Education Michele Agosto, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Curator of Public Art Aaron Ott, and Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, with students holding their new art kits at the Buffalo Elementary School of Technology #6. Photograph by Tom Loonan.

Thanks to a generous gift by Janet and Peter Boris, the Public Art Initiative distributed 30,000 educational art kits focusing on five celebrated artists to students across Erie County in 2014. The free kits include painting supplies as well as in-depth educational materials on the five artists: Frida Kahlo, Jacob Lawrence, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, and Robert Ryman.

Each art kit contains watercolor paints, paintbrushes and trays, artists’ coloring crayons, art paper, a softcover book with information about each artist and his or her unique style, and an activity book to get young artists started. The five different kits give students the opportunity to learn more about each artist, their history, and their work, while providing a critical lens for educators to enhance their own classroom art offerings.

The kits are normally sold for $30 each, but the Boris’s generous donation—worth more than $500,000—enabled the Public Art Initiative to give them to schools free of charge. J. Mills Distributing, a business owned by Erie County Legislature Chairman John Mills, assisted with the countywide distribution.

Initiative Sponsors

The Public Art Initiative is supported by the County of Erie and the City of Buffalo.

Project Sponsors

This project is made possible thanks to a generous gift by Janet and Peter Boris.

Special thanks to J. Mills Distributing for assisting with distribution.

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