Crossroads of Creativity Community Feedback

Thank you to all the artists who submitted entries to the University District Community Development Association’s (UDCDA) Crossroads of Creativity Call for Artists in partnership with the University Heights Collaborative (UHC).

Crossroads of Creativity’s overarching goal is 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 project re-imagines an old stone abutment at the nexus of two neighborhoods into an outdoor public art space meant to connect and engage residents.

Over the next week we will be soliciting online feedback from the community on the different design proposals received. You can find the full RFP that artists were responding to here. We will also have volunteers on-site at the Crossroads of the North Buffalo Rail Trail and Linear Park on Saturday, September 1st and Sunday, September 2nd from Noon to 3PM to collect in-person feedback from users of the space.

Below, please find the proposed designs along with descriptions of the designs (if provided) by the artists.

Once you’ve reviewed each proposal, please share your feedback by filling out this form.

Feedback from this process and recommendations from the project’s mural committee will determine the final design for the space.

Responses are due by Friday, September 7th.

1. Indigo Birds

2. Past/Future Train

The mural mock up is based in the history of the site as a bridge trestle for Erie Lakawanna Rail. Paying homage to the sites past as well as the regrowth and opportunity the site offers for the future community.

3. Heart in Hands

Two large hands join to create a heart shape in the center of the palms, representing two elements that when combined become something more meaningful than when apart. The scale is designed for people to interact directly with the mural. We envision bicyclist and families stopping to stand in front of the heart shape and taking pictures of one another with the mural in the background. When people interact with design they will become the center of the work, representing the heart of the community. The hands are faceted in a design, which will help to mitigate the rough hewn stone surface in ways that look intentional rather than forced. The colors of the hands themselves are various shades reflecting the diversity of the neighborhood and connecting viewers to the image on a personal level. Our mural designed is proposed to go on the north-west curve of the abutment. The height of the design is approximately 10ft.

Additional Design Element Possibilities

  • Add color to the center of the heart perhaps a pink/red or paint it a grey to blend into the abutment. This could be determined once the hands are close to finished.
  • 3×2 ft of large flagstones on the ground in front of the middle of the mural to encourage people to stand there for pictures, in the spring this would allow for the tulips to flank either side of the flagstone so pedestrians do not step on flowers.
  • Plaque with mural information and a #hashtag for people to use if they post images of themselves with the mural.

4. Nature Scene

5. Organic Vibrancy

By adding organic shapes I believe this space will become a new focal point for Buffalo N.Y. touristic photography. These designs can mirror each other along the bike path. There is a floral and plant life design along with a fun urban Buffalo sunset. These designs are meant to be large paint by numbers for any and all who would like to volunteer. I want to have these designs bring the community together where neighbors can help use art to help bring safety and strength to this bike path.

6. Native Birds 

Design #1 features a Goshawk. One has been living in the bike trail area, specifically where the old rail abutments are for decades, a very beautiful and specific bird.

Design #2: a design featuring the American Pheasant, a beautiful bird so common on the tracks when we growing up, but now sadly gone.

These designs in the final form will be high contrast, pen & ink paintings. The high contrast makes these designs perfect for uneven surfaces and makes graffiti not that much of an issue. The images will be almost posterized which eliminates most of the midtones giving the work more strength and less subtleties which would be lost of such uneven surfaces.

7. Crossing Paths

With the allusion to the Reddy bike share wheels, the maps of the crossroads of North Buffalo in one, and University Heights in another, to the people helping each other up and bringing the community together, and the Walt Whitman quote, I feel that I my design is honoring the path for what it is. I also have an idea to paint some the individual bricks different colors to represent the different people and backgrounds that are brought together at the crossroads. I found a list of ideas from the neighbors on Facebook. Some of them do not want the abutment touched. I feel that by leaving the background the exposed rock, and painting the city skyscape with chalkboard paint to let the community be involved in their own way, and adding the Walt Whitman quote that someone recommended, really brings their ideas into this mural.

By bringing the community together, especially the kids, to participate in painting the mural would be a dream come true. I have been searching for a summer program or a way I could be a positive impact and teach kids outside of a school, and this would be the perfect opportunity.

8. Balloons of Color

  1. Spray the entire surface of the abutment with a primer coat of paint (black) using an industrial sprayer.
  2. Balloons filled with multiple colors of paint, will be thrown at the wall by residents or community members your organization will choose. The balloons will be filled with outdoor latex paint, bought in gallon containers, and filled by a hand-held pump.
  3. A suggestion – charge a nominal free to individuals, adults and children, for the opportunity to participate in throwing the colorful balloons at the wall. The opportunity can take place at multiple times to allow the art space to be rejuvenated and enhanced. Money raised could fund other projects in your community and be advertised as an annual event to bring people together and create art!
  4. Setup event with volunteers from your organization and purchase supplies and materials needed for the event.

Colors to be chosen will be brighter and we will also look into glow paints to enhance the project. After the initial base coat of black, a lighter blue black will be added to the bottom of the abutment where participants could put their hand print on the abutment wall.

9. Vertical Garden

Step 1: Community Graffiti Day
Create a specific day to allow the residents of the University Heights and city alike to spray paint the abutments without creative perimeters. (but make it clear no foul language, inappropriate symbolism or derogatory statements) Engage people of every age and talent range. Provide spray paint, ladders and proper safety equipment.

Step 2: University Heights Writing
After the community painting day, on the top of the abutments put “UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS” in stenciled letters. Will need white spray paint and stenciled letters. Can be completed by artist independently.

Step 3: Community Planting Day
Engage the residents and interested parties in the University Heights neighborhoods such as members of the Tyler-Winspear Community Garden. Allow people of every age range and talent to participate in moving purchased/donated plants from planter boxes to pots. Create holes on each side of the pots used, big enough to tie in rope and drill plant hangers into the abutment by the nails. Hang the plants accordingly. Provide plants, pebbles (for proper drainage) ceramic pots, plant hangers, nails, drill and durable rope.

Step 4: Maintenance
This project will require a team of dedicated planters to water the plants during the spring and summer months. A replanting can be done every spring in the community.

10. Rainbow Train

My proposal is to work with a realism concept in the smooth upper section, depicting a vintage-style train. This design will be in the upper left side of the wall, and trail down into a looser more abstract concept on the rockier surface below, This design is meant to compliment the gritty street-art style the wall lends itself so well to. It mixes harmoniously with the pre-existing graffiti, while still making its own statement. There will be an opportunity for community collaboration on the abstract section specifically.