Yesterday I was traveling down Niagara Street when I noticed that an old wheatpaste mural of Roberto Clemente, adhered to a building near the corner of Hudson back in 2015, had been replaced. The original Clemente mural by artist Max Collins had deteriorated over the years, as most wheatpastes do. So the decision was made to enlist the help of artists Vinny Alejandro, Michele Agosto, Aileen Gonzalez Marti, and Arayoan Tylec (part of the Los Artistas del Barrio Buffalo art collective) to paint a longer lasting mural depicting Roberto Clemente.
In an interview back in 2015, Alex Burgos explained, “My father owns the business where the mural is going up – he’s been there for 25 years. We hope to inspire the neighborhood by showing that art is key to beautifying all areas of town. It will also add to the identity of Avenida San Juan, the City’s landing ground for Puerto Ricans since a big wave of immigration in the 1980’s. Roberto is a hero on the island. He was an outstanding ball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates and overcame the adversity of being a dark skinned athlete during the years of civil unrest. His willingness to sacrifice was also solidified in that he died in a plane crash while delivering relief supplies to Nicaragua, on New Year’s eve 1972.”
Coinciding with the Latina pride that the Burgos family is infusing into the neighborhood with the freshly painted mural, Alex said, “I also wanted to share some news and events that are coming up this weekend, all led by Latinas in Buffalo. They are continually producing topnotch works of dance, music, poetry and visual arts, yet are quite underrepresented in local media and the community at large. They really are a bunch of dedicated and relentless moms feeding our people’s spirit daily, for little to nothing in return!”
The events that Alex is referring to include art activities, a Pride Poetry event, and a summer youth camp, all of which are in place to evoke a stronger sense of Latin pride in the community, while paying tribute to Puerto Rican culture.
Please join us for a free day of art fun, with chalk street drawings and paper mural paintings for all ages. Plus, learn more about the new Roberto Clemente mural currently being painted on Niagara Street, located at Efrain Burgos Hair Salon (472 Niagara Street). Meet a few of the Los Artists del Barrio muralists working on the project: Vinny Alejandro (lead image), Michele Agosto, Aileen Gonzalez Marti, and Arayoan Tylec.
Take pictures, bring some instruments to play, and have fun. Most importantly, bring your creativity and enjoy the beginning of what will be a proud neighborhood marker for years to come.
“Los Artistas del Barrio is hyper-focused on using the arts to facilitate community building. Creating a mural of Roberto Clemente, a revered, heroic figure for many Puerto Ricans, as well for other Latinos and lovers of baseball from around the world, is epic for us in so many ways. Honoring a humanitarian whose passion was to ensure that all people were treated with dignity, respect and compassion, makes this first LADB collective mural even more special to us. Roberto Clemente was compelled to make this world a better place, and in our small way we hope we are doing the same.” – Michele Agosto
Saturday, July 24 | 12pm – 3pm | 472 Niagara Street
Please join Poesía LIVE with Rachel Robles, on July 24th at 7:30 PM EDT, as we celebrate Pride with performances by: Director of Arts for the Buffalo City School District & Co-founder of the Latino Arts collaborative, Los Artistas del Barrio Buffalo (LADB), Michele Agosto, Vocalist/Musician from Pasadena, California, Izzy (Ismael Galarza), Buffalo Poet and proud member of LADB, Julio Montalvo Valentin, & Singer/Performing Artist and member of LADB, Alexsandra López.
“This event is important because representation matters. Our platform has global reach. This will be a panel discussion regarding safety and equality of LGBTQIA+ community featuring four high-profile Puerto Rican artists and performers.” – Rachel Robles, Host
“We still need Pride. It isn’t just confined to the month of June because violence and inequality towards the LGBTQIA+ community isn’t only confined to the month of June. Go to the “Poesía LIVE with Rachel Robles” Facebook page at the date and time listed to watch @rachelroblespoeta and guests discuss important topics, see some poetry and musical performances.” – Jordan Stanford, Poesía Live Admin & Digital Artist
El Batey Puerto Rican Center
El Batey Puerto Rican Center has re-opened its doors, launching programming focused and prioritizing social emotional proficiency, health and wellness, Puerto Rican Cultural education, and literacy.
Summer camp youth activities include dance, drumming and jiu-jitsu lessons held from July 19th until July 30th at El Batey’s new location at 175 Rano Street in Buffalo. A reading clinic and school readiness tutoring will take place every Saturday, beginning July 24th. Numerous Bomba performances are also planned at varying locations throughout the community to showcase the art and empowerment of the dance.
“We believe these are foundational pillars for community-based transformation. We don’t look to the system or the state to rescue us or make the changes that are needed like yesterday. We have the tools, the knowledge, most importantly the love and best interest of our own people. Why not create the spaces where resources are available to us? All of us. Make it where the impact it is not necessarily broader but deeper. Because we are connected to and invested in our people, looking to each other to make it through and make it happen” – Beatriz Flores