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Deadline Extended: Crossroads of Creativity Call for Artists

Click to download a PDF of the full RFP

The University District Community Development Association’s (UDCDA) has extended the deadline for artists to submit proposals for a new mural project at the crossroads of University Heights and North Buffalo to Monday, August 27th!

The UDCDA’s project, Crossroads of Creativity, has an overarching goal to utilize public art and public participation to build on nearly a decade of work by community members to transform an abandoned rail right-of-way into a multi-use bike path and public space. The site is home to two large stone abutments roughly 20ft by 100ft that are the vestiges of an old train trestle bridge from the DL&W Rail that once ran along the border of North Buffalo and University Heights. They are now at the crossroads of the newly opened $1.4 million North Buffalo bike path completed in 2016. The trail provides a direct connection between the North Buffalo and University Heights neighborhood while also connecting to the LaSalle Metro Station and Kenmore Avenue, where the path linked to the 4-mile Tonawanda Rail Trail.

Using a donation from Joe Dash of Dash’s Market, the University Heights Collaborative (UHC), facilitated a participatory budgeting process over the course of the past year to fund improvements to the North Buffalo Rail Trail and adjacent Linear Park. A portion of this funding was earmarked by the community to support a public art initiative at the abutments. The UDCDA also received a DEC grant from the Arts Services Initiative of WNY to support the project.

The UDCDA is issuing a call for artists to design and install public art on the eastern abutment, owned by the NFTA. The art is meant to compliment the recent public investment in Minnesota Linear Park and the North Buffalo Rail Trail and celebrate the crossroads of the University Heights and North Buffalo communities. The art should be participatory in nature and provide opportunities for community involvement. A stipend of $4,000 will be paid to the winning artist(s) and the project should be completed by late fall 2018.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL RFP

Submit following materials by August 27, 2018 to d.cotton@udcda.org:

  • Contact Information and Website
  • Mural Design as a jpeg or PDF (300 dpi)
  • Three Past Work Samples, jpegs (max 300 dpi)
  • Artist Bio and/or Artistic Resume

History & Background

The North Buffalo Rail Trail and Minnesota Linear Park have seen quite a transformation over the past decade thanks to an active and engaged community. Starting with monthly cleanups held by the Heath Street Block Club and evolving into a petition campaign that collected over 1,400 resident signatures in support of a city-sponsored rail trail, much of the investment we see today is thanks to the advocacy and tenacity of community residents.

The UDCDA, UHC, Heath Street Block Club, Tool Library, and many other community organizations continue to host monthly cleanups and over the course of the past two years, volunteers have planted close to 2,000 daffodil bulbs along the trail.

The Crossroads of the North Buffalo Rail Trail and Minnesota Linear Park continues to evolve as a public space and community gathering spot. Seen here is the transformation from 2015 to present. In July of 2018, the UDCDA hosted its first ever community event at the Crossroads, featuring outdoor art, games, aerobics for kids, and a charcoal cookout. Residents were also asked for ideas on how they’d like to see the space continue to grow and evolve. Whether it was someone’s first time to the Crossroads or they were a habitual user, there was certainly no lack of affinity for this uniquely beautiful spot!

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Written by Darren Cotton

Darren Cotton

Darren has over a decade of experience in the fields of community development, urban planning, and information design. Working as Director of Community Development & Planning at the University District Community Development Association (UDCDA), Darren was responsible for writing and administering over $2 million in grant funding focused on commercial corridor revitalization, small business development, alternative transportation planning, historic preservation, public art, and community capacity building in Buffalo's University District. As a graduate student at the University at Buffalo, Darren founded The Tool Library, a community-based tool lending library, with an aim of providing affordable tool access and building the Sharing Economy in WNY. With a Bachelor's Degree in International Studies and Linguistics and a Master's Degree in Urban Planning from the University at Buffalo, Darren works to bridge the gap between research and policy through planning, design, and grassroots activism. and is a firm believer that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

View All Articles by Darren Cotton
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