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Installation view of Works, from Home, 2020, at 43 West Chippewa Street in Buffalo. From left to right, works by Karle Norman, Jay P Hawkins, Sr., Ashley Johnson, MJ Myers, Jason Seeley, Fotini Galanes, Adam Weekley, Sarah Myers, Chris Piontkowski, Obsidian Bellis, Rachel Shelton, Jon Mirro, Julia Bottoms, Tricia Butski, Jennifer Ryan, and Omniprism. Photo: Brenda Bieger for Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York.

Location: 43 West Chippewa Street (Get Directions)

Artists often have an uncanny ability to channel an era, a cultural zeitgeist, and visionary truths in challenging times. This collaborative mural project was conceived during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to support a broad range of artistic talent in Western New York. In April 2020, in an effort to build community spirit, the Albright-Knox Public Art Initiative began working with sixteen local artists. Using materials provided by the Albright-Knox, and working from their home studios, these artists were asked to respond to the initial pandemic-related lockdown requirements. The result is a sixteen-piece collaborative mural that speaks to the individual and collective experiences that we have endured. 

Public art is often about community, but during the initial period of the pandemic that required social distancing, being a truly engaged member of our community meant that all but the most essential workers stay home. These artists explored this new reality in a broad range of ways. Strength, resiliency, and respect demanded that we stay apart from one another, but despite this mandatory separation, these artists remained steadfast in their shared social responsibility to each other and to our collective creative culture. These were times of anxiety, loneliness, and uncertainty, as you may see reflected in some works, but patience, perseverance, decency, and hope abound, as well. 

Now that these works have been completed, the sections are patched together like a quilt. The resulting installation represents an even greater sense of community than the individual experiences and creative expressions could have captured in their distinct parts.

Obsidian Bellis's panel for Works, from Home, 2020. Photograph by Brenda Bieger.

Julia Bottoms's panel for Works, from Home, 2020. Photograph by Brenda Bieger.

Tricia Butski's panel for Works, from Home, 2020. Photograph by Brenda Bieger.

Fotini Galanes's panel for Works, from Home, 2020. Photograph by Brenda Bieger.

Jay P Hawkins, Sr.'s panel for Works, from Home, 2020. Photograph by Brenda Bieger.

Ashley Johnson's panel for Works, from Home, 2020. Photograph by Brenda Bieger.

Jon Mirro's panel for Works, from Home, 2020. Photograph by Brenda Bieger.

MJ Myers's panel for Works, from Home, 2020. Photograph by Brenda Bieger.

Sarah Myers's panel for Works, from Home, 2020. Photograph by Brenda Bieger.

Karle Norman's panel for Works, from Home, 2020. Photograph by Brenda Bieger.

Omniprism's panel for Works, from Home, 2020. Photograph by Brenda Bieger.

Chris Piontkowski's panel for Works, from Home, 2020. Photograph by Brenda Bieger.

Jennifer Ryan's panel for Works, from Home, 2020. Photograph by Brenda Bieger.

Jason Seeley's panel for Works, from Home, 2020. Photograph by Brenda Bieger.

Rachel Shelton's panel for Works, from Home, 2020. Photograph by Brenda Bieger.

Adam Weekley's panel for Works, from Home, 2020. Photograph by Brenda Bieger.

Participating artists include: Obsidian Bellis, Julia Bottoms, Tricia Butski, Fotini Galanes, Jay P Hawkins, Sr., Ashley Johnson, Jon Mirro, MJ Myers, Sarah Myers, Karle Norman, Omniprism, Chris Piontkowski, Jennifer Ryan, Jason Seeley, Rachel Shelton, and Adam Weekley. The resulting group of sixteen represents the work of eight women, four artists identifying as Black, and two artists identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Each artist worked on a two-and-a-half-foot wide by three-foot tall composition resulting in a compilation of individual windows into each artist's mindset; a mosaic of material and subject matter ranging from abstraction to text-based, from figurative to fantastical.

Project Sponsors

This project was made possible by the generosity of The Phyllis L. Goldman Memorial Endowment Fund.

Initiative Sponsors

The Public Art Initiative was established and is supported by leadership funding from the County of Erie and the City of Buffalo.

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