While arts organizations continue to navigate the ever-changing rules, mandates and common sense decisions regarding indoor gatherings, the clever people at UB’s Arts Collaboratory offer an alternative that requires no membership, mask or admission.
With the ongoing goal of gathering Buffalo’s painters, poets, dancers, and creators into one, big, dynamic community, the Collaboratory has developed the Buffalo Street Art Map, which enables the art-curious to explore the city’s underground yet out-in-the-open art scene. Long before murals became “a thing,” artists of all ages and backgrounds have created compelling outdoor works, using abandoned industrial sites, forgotten neighborhoods, and sometimes their own front yards as their canvases.
From wheat paste to spray paint, these passionate artists use a variety of tools and methods to express messages of hope, pride, anger and love. The Street Art Map will take you to places that beg you to stop and stare, to take in the images and words, providing insights into the artists who created the work. (Some, understandably, prefer anonymity.)
The line between graffiti and street art remains hazy and many artists work on either side of the divide. What began as a voice for the voiceless has evolved into a public art form that’s so accepted by mainstream society galleries and museums promote it and corporations are happy to sponsor.
We know winter in Buffalo can be a pretty gray and white affair. The Street Art Tour is an opportunity to treat yourself to the surprising beauty that is hidden in plain sight. And if you come upon a work that you think should be included the map, the Collaboratory welcomes new submissions via their online form. Keep the street art map growing and send in your own discoveries.
A comprehensive exhibition of Buffalo’s street art is on display at UB’s Center for the Arts through May 2022. The City Talks to Itself pays homage to the origins of Buffalo’s mural movement and celebrates the independent artists and unsung heroes who devote their time, energy and materials to creating works for the entire city to enjoy.
UB alum Josh Federice has created a massive collage for the UBCFA that features street art found across Buffalo. For hours and information visit ubcfa.org.