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From the West Side to the Medical Campus, Buffalo welcomes new murals

Three new murals were recently unveiled on highly visible public structures in Buffalo, providing a welcome splash of color commentary on the city’s changing streetscape and culture.

The side of Lorigo’s Meating Place, a butcher shop on Grant Street, now features a collaborative mural completed through an ambitious project overseen by Young Audiences of Western New York. On the side of a parking garage on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, two murals by local artists William Y. Cooper, James J. Cooper III and Jennifer Fuentes testify to the increasing importance of the health care industry to the city’s identity and its economic fortunes.

The Grant Street mural emerged from months of work by mural artist Augustina Droze and the residents and students of the surrounding neighborhood, the demographics of which have shifted rapidly in the past several years as refugees and immigrants trickled in from across the globe.

The new faces of the neighborhood are represented on the mural through blown-up and stylized portraits amid a background that combines abstract patterns with flowers and other images reflective of the neigborhood’s changing character.

“This project [is] designed to bring the community of the West Side to life through relationships between children, families, schools and the growing business community,” Cynnie Gaasch, director of Young Audiences, said in a statement.

On the Medical Campus, two new murals, each 20 feet wide and 50 feet tall, were mounted last week on opposite sides of a parking garage at Goodrich and High streets. The mural visible from High Street, “Beautiful Health Fphacze,” is by James J. Cooper III. The mural on the opposite side, called “Nexus,” was a collaboration among James J. Cooper, William Y. Cooper and Fuentes. Its title, according to a release from the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, “is a metaphor for the Buffalo Niagara region’s role in promoting cutting-edge science and medicine, globally.”

The Medical Campus murals, which add a loud shock of color to an otherwise bland parking garage, were unveiled in a ceremony Wednesday morning that was attended by the artists, local politicians and art community leaders.