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An Artistic Homage to the Lake Erie Water Snake @ Canalside

On Sunday I made a stop on over to Canalside to check out the three echo Art Fair installations that went up recently. One of them, that was still under construction, was artist Catherine Willett’s redo of a bland (if not downright ugly and obtrusive) utilitarian electrical box. Catherine was putting the final details on her work, with the help of art associate Max West.


“If you look closely at the “wallpaper”,” Catherine said. “You will see that it’s a print of an original work of art of mine. The images are of the Lake Erie water snake that was on the endangered animal list until 2012 when it began to make a recovery. My brother in-law recently came across a nest of the snakes at Wilkeson Pointe, and since I incorporate the imagery of snakes into many of my works, I felt that this was the direction that I wanted to go with the piece.”

Along with the printed work, Catherine has also incorporated hand painted elements to the baroque piece, which will ultimately be clear coated for longevity. One side of the station was painted gold, due to the nature of the unit and its inherent regulations. The combination of gold paint and baroque printed paper with hand painted gold accents actually makes the piece that much more appealing.


Here is the breakdown for the echo artists @ Canalside:

The artists and installations include:

  • CATHERINE WILLETT (Buffalo, NY): Willett creates an experience with beings and objects beyond their everyday structure and, for echo @ Canalside, she responds to a utility box located at Lloyd and Prime Streets at Canalside.  The piece is titled Reclamation. Willett creates a repeated pattern on paper, which will be pasted onto the box and sealed.  The pattern contains hand-drawn imagery that is based on the Lake Erie Watersnake—a creature native to the area that was recently removed from the endangered species list.
  • STARLIGHT STUDIO COLLECTIVE (Buffalo, NY): The Collective, led by artist Lily Booth, creates Shade, a series of branched structures that will attach to two existing lampposts in the sandpit area, so as to provide shade for the children playing in the area.  Made of a sturdy metal frame and lightweight recycled plastics, these constructions will replicate tree-like, dappled shade, providing shelter from the sun.  Properties of the materials chosen will also give off a rustling noise in the breeze and cast colorful shadows on the sand as light passes through some of the transparent elements.
  • TH&B (Hamilton, ON): TH&B constructs Terminus, a billboard structure made of repurposed steel and wood, to mark the geography and history of the site.  The front face of the billboard will feature cut out silhouettes of the Great Lakes—an image of the iconic lakes as negative space to reveal the scaffold support structure beneath the billboard.  Covering the imagery of the Lakes will be another smaller scaffold lattice, representing a type of engineering or repair work being underway.  Terminus suggests a neglected billboard, an industrial relic, like those commonly found in post-industrial areas on the fringes of a city.

“Public art is the newest addition to Canalside and we couldn’t be more proud to support and host the echo @ Canalside art installations,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia. “With hundreds of events scheduled throughout the summer, we are still creating new opportunities and public activities, and we invite the public to come down, vote for your favorite art installation and have some fun on Buffalo’s beautiful waterfront.”

E. Frits Abell, founder of echo Art Fair, said, “We could not be happier about this expansion of our site-specific program—to bring public art to Buffalo’s breathtaking and redeveloped waterfront, build excitement for Buffalo and its fine arts community, and collaborate with Cori and Aaron, as they symbolically pass the curatorial torch of public-minded art.”

*echo will administer a People’s Choice Prize ($1,600), funded by ECHDC, to be chosen by popular vote by visitors to Canalside. Attendees will be encouraged to choose and vote for their favorite installation of the three—the public can vote at the Information Booth at Canalside. Voting begins on August 7th and extends until September 5th, and the winner of the Prize will be announced at the opening of the fair.


Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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