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Betty’s features vibrant paintings by William Y. Cooper

When Buffalo painter William Y. Cooper died in February, the arts community lost one of its most vibrant personalities.

Cooper’s astoundingly bright and colorful paintings and murals, in which he wove together the infinite influences of African culture with a painting style that could best be described as musical, are instantly recognizable. Starting May 23, they’ll be brightening up Betty’s restaurant (370 Virginia St.), which is featuring an exhibition of his recent work organized before his death called “Cultural Immersions.”

Cooper’sart, which is on view in murals across the city, drew on his many trips to West Africa, as well as on his appreciation for the cultural contributions of African-Americans – notably jazz. There is a sense of rhythm and improvisation in his work, which made him the perfect choice to create the mural for Buffalo’s historic Colored Musicians Club on Broadway.

The show, according to a release from Betty’s curator Kathleen Sherin, “will continue to celebrate his life as an accomplished painter of cultural events and culturally significant people. His strong colorful paintings sing out forcefully, yet joyously, in his unique personal style.”

The exhibition runs through July 17. Call 362-0633 or visit

-Colin Dabkowski