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Canalside unveils new art installations

The most blinged-out electrical box in Buffalo, a map of the Great Lakes made of old posters and two light poles masquerading as tropical trees are now on view at Canalside as part of a public art project affiliated with the upcoming Echo Art Fair.

The artists were selected by former Buffalo Arts Studio director Cori Wolff and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery's recently appointed public art curator Aaron Ott. The Echo Art Fair, for which these works are meant serve as advertisements, is slated for Sept. 6 and 7 in the Central Library.

The hulking utility boxes at Lloyd and Prime streets were decorated by Catherine Willett with a wallpaper pattern that includes an artistic rendering of the Lake Erie Watersnake and shining gold spraypaint. Call it Urban Outfitters meets the Department of Public Works. A look at the high-wattage installation:


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Also on view is a new piece by the Hamilton, Ont.-based TH&B collective, which erected a rusty, weathered billboard featuring what looks to be the remainder of years of ripped-off handbills spontaneously forming the Great Lakes in relief. (Sort of like seeing the Virgin Mary in your coffee grounds only, you know, artsy.) The installation, supported by rusty scaffolding and looking as if it's been through a dozen Buffalo winters, seems to have been there forever:

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Finally, artists from Buffalo's Starlight Studio and Gallery, an organization that empowers developmentally disabled artists to develop their creative voices, have attached exotic poofs of leaf-like material to the top of lamp posts in Canalside's outsize sandbox. Their ostensible purpose is to provide shade to children playing below, but they mostly serve as pleasing punctuation marks and, like Willett's work, turn utilitarian structures into something a lot more fun:

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