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Exploring Buffalo's public art, past and present

Buffalo has entered a new golden age of public art.

Starting with the installation of Casey Riordan Millard's "Shark Girl" sculpture in 2014, the city has seen a seemingly nonstop infusion of murals, sculptures and community-based public art projects.

The new push has been spearheaded by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and its ambitious public art curator Aaron Ott, but the public art renaissance extends far beyond the region's major institutions.

All the shiny new objects that have appeared on the streetscape -- angular murals by Team Razor Wire, stylized portraits of black activists on the "Freedom Wall," rainbow-colored pieces of snaking metal in the Medical Campus Metro Station -- are one thing.

But it's also important not to lose sight of the many longstanding public art works that have enriched the cultural life of the region for decades.

The proud sculptures that stand outside City Hall or in Delaware Park, the endlessly fascinating statuary of Forest Lawn, the ever-changing work of outsider artists like Niagara Falls' Prophet Isaiah: All of these merit a closer look along with the region's hot new murals and other projects.

For expats returning home for the holiday weekend and looking for some non-Turkey Trot-related activities to do with the family, you could do worse than a tour of Western New York's expanding public art universe.

To whet your appetite for the hundreds of public art pieces that dot Western New York -- new and old, familiar and obscure -- we've highlighted some of the pieces worth visiting.

See the Top 25 in the gallery to the right.


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