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Inspiring Middle School Art Students to Think Big

Wildflowers of Buffalo mural Inspiring her eighth-grade art students to think big, Amherst Middle School art teacher Christina Klein coordinated a trip for her Studio in Art students to see large-scale works of art in downtown Buffalo.


The public art murals that cover the sides of buildings throughout downtown Buffalo gave the students a chance see the scale, dimensions, science and perspective of what went into creating the piece. Ellen Zelasko from Hello Buffalo Tours narrated the tour throughout the city on the Nickel City Tour Bus, explaining to students, faculty, and parents who the mural artists are and what they had in mind while creating.


Buffalo artist Casey Milbrand met the group at his mural “Greetings from Buffalo” at 461 Ellicott Street on the south side of the Washington Market Building. Milbrand shared how he prepared, researched and designed his mural. He told students, as a final step, he applies a special coating finish, with a rubbery texture, to avoid graffiti being stuck to the mural. The coating also helps extend the life of the piece.


"It was such a unique experience for our students to hear from the artist himself, and about all the preparation and research that went into planning and executing the mural," said Mrs. Klein.


Betsy Casanas Patria mural Eighth-grader Johnny Bewley said, “This tour will influence my art because I see a new perspective on things. It was fun talking to the artist Casey Milbrand of Greetings from Buffalo." Bewley said he might want to try painting a mural one day. He thought the science behind planning the mural was pretty cool.


Eighth-grader Jonathan McCormack, said "The Tribute to Spain Rodriguez mural, near Allen Street, was interesting because it showed almost a movement when street art was more strictly controlled." The mural was done by artists Ian DeBeer and Keith Harrington.


The group also saw:

  • The largest mural in WNY, "Wildflowers for Buffalo", measuring 80 feet tall by 160 feet wide. The mural was recently completed by artist Louise Jones on the side of the Sinclair Building at 465 Washington Street and is part of the Albright Knox Art Gallery's public art initiative.
  • At Michigan Avenue and East Ferry Street, four local artists, John Baker, Julia Bottoms, Chuck Tingley, and Edreys Wajed transformed a bus depot into The Freedom Wall, a tribute to 28 civil rights leaders.
  • Freedom Wall Betsy Casañas's Patria, Será Porque Quisiera Que Vueles, Que Sigue Siendo Tuyo Mi Vuelo (Homeland, Perhaps It Is Because I Wish to See You Fly, That My Flight Continues To Be Yours) at 585 Niagara Street.
  • Voyage, 224 Allen St., created by Chuck Tingley.
  • Augustina Droze and Bruce Adams, Go! & Feast

  • Augustina Droze, Grant Street Global Voices

  • Alice Mizrachi, Dream Keepers

  • Zoom, Nikola Tesla

  • Rust Belt Division, Iron Fireman

  • Chino

  • Prish Moran, Burmese God of Happiness



  Voyage by Chuck Tingley   Greetings from Buffalo by Casey Milbrand  Nickel City Bus tours  Nickel City Bus Tour