The AKG Art Museum has unveiled its latest public mural project. To date, the mural by artist Aaron Li-Hill is the tallest of the AKG’s commissioned murals, and is found on the southeast façade of Lyndon B. Johnson Apartments (LBJ) at 167 Humboldt Parkway. The figures featured in the mural are residents of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority (BMHA) public housing development that primarily houses elderly and disabled residents, as well as members of the community.
The AKG Art Museum worked with BMHA residents via a number of Resident Council meetings, in order to come up with a guideline for the mural. This is the first time that the AKG has worked with the BMHA – hopefully it won’t be the last*, as stark buildings of this nature greatly benefit from the appearance of colorful works of art.
Li-Hill (Canadian) worked with local photographer Patrick Cray to capture the images of the residents and community members that were incorporated into the mural, which is undergoing its finishing touches at the moment.
“Since the project’s inception nearly two years ago, the residents of LBJ Apartments have welcomed us into their home and worked with us every step of the way,” said Janne Sirén, Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director of the Buffalo AKG. “It has been an honor to facilitate the creation of Aaron Li-Hill’s stunning artwork, which depicts the people in LBJ’s remarkable and close-knit community. It is my sincere hope that this project marks the beginning of a long-term partnership between the Buffalo AKG, BMHA, and residents of public housing throughout Buffalo.”
“We are so grateful to the AKG for initiating this first-of-its-kind partnership with the housing authority. The public art staff took the time to have multiple meetings with our residents, and took care to allow the process to be resident-driven,” said BMHA Executive Director Gillian D. Brown. “We are honored to work with an artist like Mr. Li-Hill, and we look forward to continued collaboration with the AKG on projects to increase access and exposure to their resources by our residents.”
“This mural represents the beauty that results from true engagement with the neighborhoods and communities that make up this incredible city,” said Aaron Ott, Curator of Public Art at the Buffalo AKG. “From the beginning, everything was on the table. We empowered the residents of LBJ to lead this process, and they have been helpful, conscientious, committed partners throughout. I am deeply grateful to Aaron Li-Hill for his vision, his humility, and his commitment to the community.”
Another BMHA apartment building that could really use some love is located at the corner of Summer and Richmond. It’s the F.A. Sedita Apartments. Talk about a blank canvas to work with…