Buffalo, NY – Recently the Albright-Knox Art Gallery's Public Art Initiative began work on a new mural at 617 Fillmore Avenue by artist Wojciech Kołacz, also known as Otecki (Polish, born 1984). The location is directly across the street from Torn Space Theater, which is housed in the Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle. The work will be completed by June 7, and the public is welcome to come and view the progress.
Buffalo is home to the second-largest Polish population in the United States, and the mural’s East Side location in particular is where many Polish families settled and established the Broadway/Fillmore neighborhood. Otecki’s designs will significantly add to the cultural landscape of this historic area.
Otecki is an illustrator, printmaker, painter, and mural artist working in Wroclaw, Poland, located about midway between Warsaw and Prague. He finds influence in cubism, tribal art, and Slavonic folklore, and is fond of presenting dualistic worlds and characters, especially human-animal combinations, that he considers “part majesty and part mystery.”
This project is supported in part by the Broadway-Fillmore Neighborhood Housing Services, which partnered with the Public Art Initiative in 2017 to produce Keir Johnston and Ernel Martinez’s Welcome Wall mural at 751 Fillmore Avenue.
Other recent Albright-Knox Public Art Initiative projects include The Freedom Wall, completed by artists John Baker, Julia Bottoms, Chuck Tingley, and Edreys Wajed at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and East Ferry Street; Betsy Casañas’s mural Patria, Será Porque Quisiera Que Vueles, Que Sigue Siendo Tuyo Mi Vuelo (Homeland, Perhaps It Is Because I Wish to See You Fly, That My Flight Continues to Be Yours) at 585 Niagara Street; Keir Johnston and Ernel Martinez’s mural Welcome Wall at 751 Fillmore Avenue; Bunnie Reiss's mural Magic Buffalo at 1322 Hertel Avenue; Shantell Martin’s mural Dance Everyday at 537 East Delavan Avenue; Daniel Galas’s mural 72 Jewett at 74 Jewett Avenue; Amanda Browder’s Spectral Locus installation at three separate locations throughout Buffalo; Alice Mizrachi’s mural Dream Keepers at the Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology; Roberley Bell’s Locus Amoenus installation at the Tifft Nature Preserve; Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn’s mural Noodle in the Northern Lights at Shea’s 710 Theatre; Kaarina Kaikkonen’s installation We Share a Dream at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport; Jenny Kendler’s Milkweed Dispersal Balloons and ReWilding New York (Community Seed Stations), a two-fold work that took place over the summer of 2015; Shayne Dark’s 2015 exhibition Natural Conditions and residency at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens; Jaume Plensa’s Silent Poets at Canalside; Casey Riordan’s Shark Girl at Canalside; Tape Art’s Buffalo Caverns, a massive, temporary mural made with low-adhesive drawing tape on the north wall of the Central Library branch of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library; a billboard- and sticker-based iteration of Matthew Hoffman’s You Are Beautiful project, made possible in part through a partnership with Lamar Advertising; and Charles Clough’s collaboratively produced Hamburg Arena Painting, which is installed at the Hamburg Public Library. The Public Art Initiative has also distributed 30,000 art kits to students throughout Erie County.
The Public Art Initiative is an innovative partnership between the Albright-Knox and Erie County established in 2013. The City of Buffalo joined the partnership in 2014. The goal of the Initiative is to create spaces of dialogue where diverse communities have the ability to engage, respond, and cooperatively produce great public art that can empower individuals, create stronger neighborhoods, and establish Western New York as a vital cultural center.