The latest public art project underway, “Rewilding New York,” is set to bloom across Erie County, and officials say the new project is bursting with potential.
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, two Albright-Knox Art Gallery officials, and members of the community gathered Monday at the intersection of Fillmore Avenue and Woeppel Street to unveil the new project.
The project, by artist Jenny Kendler, features 10 repurposed newsstand boxes, donated by The Buffalo News, covered in a floral pattern.
They will be placed in locations across the county, with a concentration on Buffalo’s East Side, including Martin Luther King Park, the Broadway Market, Mattie’s Restaurant on Fillmore Avenue, Lt. Col. Matt Urban Hope Center, Orchard Park Public Library, the Clarence Farmers Market and Explore and More Children’s Museum in East Aurora.
Each box will contain a variety of 11 low-maintenance native wildflower species, including white yarrow, red milkweed, ox eye sunflower, purple coneflower, and stiff goldenrod. Ontario-based Wildflower Farm, which operates a Buffalo-based warehouse, will provide the seeds.
Members of the community are encouraged, free of charge, to take a seed packet from the stands and plant the seeds in their yards or community spaces. The seeds planted are expected to bloom next spring.
“The community seed stations are terrific intersections between art and nature, and they put the power to create art directly into the hands of individuals,” Poloncarz said.
Kendler, a New York City-born artist, is currently the first Artist-in-Residence with the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The success of the project “depends on the participation of the public to take this on for themselves and to help us make sure it’s realized and fully transforms the area in which it inhabits,” said Cathleen Chaffee, Albright-Knox Art Gallery senior curator.
The project aims to get the public involved in brightening up their own public spaces with indigenous wildlife. The initiative is a part of the Public Art Initiative, a partnership between Erie County, Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the City of Buffalo.
Public art has had a tremendous impact on the region, Poloncarz said.
He pointed to the continued excitement about artist Casey Riordan Millard’s hugely popular “Shark Girl” sculpture at Canalside, artist Matthew Hoffman’s “You Are Beautiful” billboard campaign across Erie County and others.