Albright Knox Announces
Final Four Artists for Public Art Project
As a result of several successfulcommunity meetings led by Albright Knox Public Art Curator Aaron Ott and his team who sought out community input for one of their new public art projects announced earlier this year called the Freedom Wall (working title) has made great progress and the Gallery has announced that it will add three new artists to execute the planned mural at the corner of Michigan Ave and Ferry Street, on the wall surrounding the property of the NFTA Cold Spring Bus Maintenance Depot and Offices. The final four artists selected as pictured above will be Edreys Wajed, Julia Douglas, John Baker and Chuck Tingley, Each artist is a native of Buffalo, currently lives and works in the region and all hold a degree from SUNY Buffalo State College. All of the artists will actively host workshop opportunities during the installation period of the mural that is set to begin this summer. "These artists were selected with vital input from several of our local community meetings. Without the impassioned commitment of many in our region, this project would not be as broadly representative as it has become, with artists crossing the boundaries of age, gender, and race to produce an unparalleled and unprecedented work. We are thrilled to be working with such phenomenal local talent” says Ott.
The wall that will serve as the canvas for this historical project has 29 columned spaces that will act as frames to be used for the depiction of portraits of notable civil rights leaders in American History both locally and nationally known. The site stands to become a formal and dramatic entrance into the Michigan Street African-American Heritage Corridor. Go to albrightknox.org to learn more.
More About The Artists
Edreys Wajed is an artist, educator, performer, and entrepreneur based in Buffalo. Wajed’s most recent series of drawings consist of black and white line-based representations often taking the form of expressive yet minimal portraiture. Initially started as a daily practice to expand his creative output, Wajed has created over 700 individual works in this series.
Wajed is well known locally as a multitalented artist expressing his talents through the creation of jewelry, spoken word, music, and educational activities. Wajed has said of his artistic ambition that his “inspiration is to actually BE an inspiration. I want to be an inspiration to others through my thoughts, words and actions.” Wajed’s unyielding positivity and generous spirit result in a visionary practice that is the culmination of committed and sensitive observation of the world. This provides Wajed with purpose larger than himself; one which he shares generously to inspire those around him to “get real for real results.”
Julia Douglas is a Buffalo-based artist focused on realistic and recognizable representations, using portraiture to give a glimpse of people of color as sensitive, sincere, and multi-faceted; images that the artist feels are often missing in mainstream portrayals. Douglas has previously focused on depictions of men in part because she feels a “certain level of expressive privilege often denied to men by our culture,” giving her the freedom to explore and deviate from notions of accepted but deeply flawed racial stereotypes and distorted gender roles. Recently her work has slightly broadened, focusing less on gender specifics as it turns towards aspects of character in general.
Douglas feels that in a culture that so often markets reductive representations of the beauty, grace and intellect of people of color that it is necessary to produce and promote nuanced and constructive images that actively break that cycle. Douglas proudly asserts, “People of color have been trapped in someone else’s narrative for too long, and when we have tried to write our own, we have often been erased from the mainstream’s history books. I believe it is time for us to use the talents we possess to speak our truth. Our lives are worthy of dialogue.”
Douglas has exhibited regionally and will have an exhibition of her work at the Buffalo Arts Studio, Tinted: A Visual Statement on Color, Identity, and Representation (April 28 – June 2, 2017). Douglas is the inaugural artist for the Open Buffalo Emerging Artist Series. Douglas is also a contributing writer for AFROPUNK.
John Baker is a nationally recognized artist, curator, and educator from Buffalo. Baker is a natural story-teller and focuses his production on images designed to elicit emotional responses intended to inspire viewers to learn more about the subject matter at hand. As an artist, Baker has executed murals, participated in solo and group exhibitions locally and nationally, and has engaged diverse communities in a dedicated and life-long effort to share the value of cultural production.
Baker is a multitalented curator and educator, having developed exhibitions with numerous institutions, each time providing unique visitor experiences, supporting dynamic outreach opportunities, and encouraging inquire-based learning for all audiences. Baker is a long-celebrated activist for artists in the region, often providing young artists with their inaugural opportunities for workshops and exhibitions. His tireless support of other artist’s practices has led to his recent advancement as the president of the newly formed Western New York Urban Arts Collective, a group assembled to provide mutual support for representation in the region, especially for underserved artists and artists of color.
Baker displays an unparalleled sensitivity to the impact of art on individuals’ lived experiences and his familiarity with the history of our local communities provides a significant asset for the development and execution of this project.
Chuck Tingley’s art is primarily focused on figurative representations through drawing and painting. His concentration on realistically rendered figures is made dynamic and emotional through his expressionistic application of layers of paint and the inclusion of abstract designs hovering amid sheer backgrounds. Tingley hopes that his work connects spiritually and psychologically with his viewers in a way that allows them to plumb their own passions and to build unique narratives based on their individual perceptions.
Tingley received his BFA in painting from SUNY Buffalo State. He relocated to Lockport, NY in 2013 and currently maintains a studio in Buffalo's Larkin District. His work has appeared in the regional publications Artvoice, The Public, and Spark Magazine. Solo exhibitions of his work have been presented at the Olean Public Library in Olean, NY, and El Museo Gallery and High-Temp Fabrication in Buffalo. He has also been included in group exhibitions at the Burchfield Penney Art Center and the Erie Art Museum in Erie, PA.
Tingley has executed numerous public murals in Western New York including commissions for Artpark, Glow Gallery, and most recently Art Alley in Niagara Falls. In 2015 and 2016, he received Decentralization Grants from the New York State Council on the Arts, and also in 2016, he was honored by the Arts Services Initiative of Western New York as a finalist for the “Artist of the Year” Spark Cultural Award.
The Public Art Initiative is supported by the County of Erie and the City of Buffalo.
The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is recognized as home to one of the world’s leading collections of contemporary and modern art. With more than 7,000 objects in its collection and a dynamic series of exhibitions and public programs, the Albright-Knox continues to grow and to fulfill its mission to acquire, exhibit, and preserve contemporary and modern art in an enriching, dynamic, and vibrant environment.
MUSEUM HOURS: Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. M&T FIRST FRIDAYS @ THE GALLERY takes place on the first Friday of every month from 10 am to 10 pm. Closed Mondays and Independence, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Days. Admission is $12 for adults; $8 for seniors and students; $5 for children ages 6 to 12; FREE for AK Members and children 5 and under. Additional fees may apply for certain special exhibitions. For additional information, please visit www.albrightknox.org.
The Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s annual operations are supported, in part, by public funds from the County of Erie and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and by the generosity of our Members. M&T FIRST FRIDAYS @ THE GALLERY is made possible by a generous grant from M&T Bank; media sponsorship is provided by Kiss 98.5, and free parking is provided by NOCO. The Art’scool program is presented by BlueCross Blue Shield of Western New York with additional support provided by an anonymous donor, KeyBank, the Robert J. & Martha B. Fierle Foundation, Lawley, Karen and Richard Penfold, the Buffalo Bills Foundation, the Allentown Village Society, and Anne Conable. Access AK is made possible through the generous support of the James H. Cummings Foundation, Inc. Endowment; The William M. Wood Foundation; an anonymous donor; and National Fuel. The Innovation Lab was founded with leadership support from The John R. Oishei Foundation, The Seymour H. Knox Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The Public Art Initiative is supported by the County of Erie and the City of Buffalo.