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Buffalo Arts Commission

Address:  2001 City Hall - Buffalo, NY 14202
Phone:  (716) 851-5027



Mayor's Appointees
Catherine Gillespie, Chair
Barbra A. Kavanaugh
Celeste M. Lawson
Elaine Irwin Cryer
Donald J. Siuta
Eunice Ashman Lewin
Thomas J. Mazzone

Common Council President's Appointees
Valeria Cray-Dihaan
Gerald Mead
James Pappas
Hadley Horrigan

Honorary Commissioner
Elisabeth Clarkson


Current Projects

2009 Race & Reconciliation Conference & Diversity Through Arts Program

City of Buffalo Public Art Collection Online


Art in Public Places Program

Description of Services

Founded in 1980, the Buffalo Arts Commission is comprised of 15 volunteer members appointed by the Mayor (10) and Common Council President (5).  It is the responsibility of the Commission to:   

  • Submit to the Mayor and Common Council annual plans for the expenditure of funds commissioning new works of art in the city.

  • Advise the Mayor and Common Council concerning works of art to be acquired by the city, whether by purchase, gift or otherwise, together with their proposed location.

  • Recommend to the Mayor and Common Council suitable practices and procedures for the cataloging, care and maintenance of all works of art belonging to the city.

  • Make periodic reviews with the Mayor, at least annually, of all city capital improvement projects for the purpose of making recommendations on appropriations for works of art.

  • Submit annually a capital budget request based on plans for the conservation of city-owned works of art, plans for the commissioning of new works of art, and the Commissionís review and recommendations of projects enhancing the general aesthetic appearance of city property.

  • Advise the Mayor and Common Council concerning the removal or relocation of any works of art presently owned by the City of Buffalo.

  • Advise the Mayor and Common Council concerning the acceptance or declination of works of art offered to the city.

  • Apply for and administer federal, state, and other grants, loans or appropriations for the Commissioní acquisition or maintenance of works of art.

  • Assist the city in the formation of city ordinances and policies designed to promote, enhance and strengthen the arts in Buffalo.

  • Hold meetings open to the public to receive comments on Commission activities.

  • Promote the artistic life of city neighborhoods with particular attention paid to preserving and promoting cultural diversity.

  • Serve as official representatives of the Mayor at various arts and cultural functions.

  Current Projects

The Cityís collection currently consists of more than 200 artworks and decorative objects.  The Commission coordinates their display, storage, conservation and maintenance.  Furthermore, the Commission endeavors to sustain a conservation initiative that began more than 15 years ago with the Save Outdoor Sculpture program, an initiative that lead to the first restoration of outdoor sculpture.  Since then, over 40 outdoor sculptures and 12 portraits have received conservation treatments.  The long-term preservation of these works is furthered by adherence to a schedule of routine care and maintenance.  In 2002, the American Institute of Conservation and Heritage Preservation honored the Arts Commission with an award for "Outstanding Commitment to the Preservation and Care of Collections," the institutesí highest honor. 

The Commission is currently developing strategies for the conservation of three prominent Buffalo landmarks listed by Save Americaís Treasures as part of a historic district.  The decorative limestone friezes adorning the east and west facades of City Hall, the McKinley Monument, and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument are all scheduled to be restored. 

The Commission is also working on a comprehensive inventory update of artworks, cataloguing conservation reports and historical records as part of a public art information initiative.  Once complete, this information will serve as the most accurate and up-to-date record of the cityís collection.  Online access to these records will provide a component of educational outreach unprecedented in the Commissionís 23-year history. 

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