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January 13, 2021 - 2:38pm
posted by James Burns in news, Basom, Alabama Hotel, art, mural, history.

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A new mural was commissioned for the dining room of the Alabama Hotel, located at routes 77 and 63 in Basom.

Owner Bonnie Woodward says, the mural in the main dining room was painted as a display of gratitude for all the hotel’s guests, and it encompasses many the highlights of the local area. The theme of the mural is “All Roads Lead to the Alabama Hotel.”

Bonnie explains the elements in the mural:

  • The Alabama Hotel -- The painting of the hotel is a depiction of the structure dating back to the 1840s when it was first built. The entire section of the wall is a time capsule originating from the inception of the building, moving forward into the 1950s when the Woodward Family bought the Hotel, then forward to 2019 when Bonnie Woodward purchased it, and then finally to you -- the viewer at present.
  • 1957 Buick Convertible – Bonnie wanted to embody the time period when the Hotel was acquired by the Woodward Family – 1956.
  • Gas Pump – The building across from the Hotel, on the southwest corner, was at one point in time a gas station. The gas pump is from the 1950s and indicates the price of gas for that time period ($0.29/gallon).

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  • Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge – A very short drive west is this habitat which supports approximately 266 species of birds, 42 species of mammals, as well as fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects;
  • Giant Wheel – Representing Six Flags Darien Lake in the Town of Darien. The real Giant Wheel propels riders 165 feet in the air.
  • Darien Lake Amphitheater – Hosting performances from all your favorites with a capacity of 21,600 people.
  • Steam Engine Tractor – The steam engine is a great way to represent the nearby Town of Alexander, which has hosted the Western New York Gas and Steam Engine Association and their respective annual rally since 1967.

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  • Old Lockport Locks – Running 524 miles with 57 locks, 17 lift bridges, and 13 movable dams, the Erie Canal is yet another designated National Historic Landmark. The Canal was fully operational in 1825. There is an elevation change from Albany to Buffalo of 571 feet. Although the mural depicts the Lockport locks from their historical perspective, the locks have been reconstructed and now are the only double set on The Erie Canal. They raise boats 50 feet using three million gallons of water.

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  • Buffalo City Hall – Just a short distance from here is Buffalo – the second largest city in New York State. Buffalo City Hall is a historical Art Deco masterpiece that is at the center of what's happening in Buffalo today.
  • McKinley Monument – The obelisk painted in front of City Hall is the McKinley Monument. This 96-foot tall structure defines the center of Buffalo where all the main roads converge. The monument was dedicated to the memory of President William McKinley who was fatally shot in Buffalo. On Sept. 14, 1901, following McKinley’s death, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was inaugurated at the Ansley Wilcox House in Buffalo. He became the 26th President of the United States.

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  • Niagara Falls – Niagara Falls is considered the Eighth Wonder of the World. This major tourist destination is the result of Lake Erie dumping into Lake Ontario and it straddles part of the border between New York and Canada. You may find it interesting to know that the rate of water traversing the falls is controlled by employing a weir with movable gates upstream from the Horseshoe Falls. Peak tourist season as well as hydroelectric facilities are determinants of such control measures, as well as the extreme importance of erosion control. Niagara Falls, with its hydropower, is the largest electricity producer in New York State.
  • Wine Barrel – Since 1850 more than 5,000 people have either intentionally or accidently gone over the falls. The first person, in 1901, to survive was 63-year old school teacher, Annie Edson Taylor. She successfully performed the stunt in an oak barrel. Of the thousands of subsequent attempts, only 16 others have reportedly survived. Stunting at Niagara Falls has been illegal since 1951 and surviving such a feat could still cost a daredevil up to $25,000 (USD) in fines. 

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  • Fresh Produce – Agriculture is a major component of the local economy. The Hotel is positioned in Genesee County, which is part of the Finger Lakes Agricultural Region -- the center of NY agriculture. This region hosts the largest amount of farmland in the State and ranks first in total amount of farm sales. The neighboring Western New York Region comprises of 5,100 farms and 870,000 acres of farmland (2012 U.S. Census Report).
  • Maple Tree – The maple leaf is the chosen emblem of Canada. We are grateful to our friends to the north who have always contributed to the culture and tradition of the Alabama Hotel.
  • Apples – At one point Western New York was the leading apple producing area in the country. Today, NY State farmers grow 40 varieties of apples – more than any other state. The state is currently the second-largest apple producing state in the nation (USDA). 
  • Onions – Neighboring Elba is known as the Onion Capital of the World in large part to the fertile mucklands. This title is upheld by the town’s annual Onion Festival and the crowning of its Onion Queen.
  • Cary Seminary – Consistent with the theme of the other landmark structures, the artist captured the historic essence of the Cary Collegiate Seminary in neighboring Oakfield. The Seminary was opened in 1844 as a select boarding school and later became Oakfield High School. The building is now School House Manor – 27 apartments for the elderly.
  • Milk Can – This is a symbolic homage to the local dairy industry; which is a major part of the economy. “The state has more than 4,000 dairy farms, is the fourth largest producer of milk [in the Nation], and is the largest producer of yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream. The dairy community includes both large dairy operations and small, family-run farms. It also boasts processing of various types and sizes, from major global processing companies to small artisanal dairy product makers.” 
  • Holding Lantern – Homage to the Underground Railroad. The entire area of Western New York was filled with stops or stations with major stations in Buffalo and Rochester. At the stations, weary slaves were given food, rest and a change of clothing before continuing the last leg of the journey to freedom in Canada.

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  • Holland Land Office – Located in Batavia, the image is of the third and last office of The Holland Land Company. In 1960, the building was declared a National Historic Landmark, the first one in Western New York. If you’re keeping track, that is the third National Historic Landmark on the mural tour. 
  • Kodak Building – Nearby Rochester is known for the cultural icon of Eastman Kodak. With the slogan "you press the button, we do the rest" George Eastman put the first simple camera into the hands of a world of consumers in 1888. In so doing he made a cumbersome and complicated process easy to use and accessible to nearly everyone. Eastman’s Company has been at the center of most milestones in photography and digital imaging ever since.” 

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Signatures of artists Susan Weber from Alden and Daniel Riggs originally from Elba

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August 20, 2019 - 2:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, art, L.B. Grand, news, The ART of Mandy, mural, GO ART!.

Submitted photo and story by Mary Margaret. 

LE ROY -- Local artist Mandy Humphrey has completed her colorful mural on the outside wall of the L.B. Grand Restaurant on Main Street in the Village of Le Roy and it’s her biggest project to date, she said.

Humphrey has a master’s degree from Rochester Institute of Technology in Art Education and owns The ART of Mandy, a studio in Le Roy, which offers classes to all ages.

In order to complete a mural of this size, which according to Bill Farmer, owner of L.B. Grand, is 33 x 96 feet, Humphrey learned to use a high lift and worked on sketching out the artwork ahead of time for scale.

Details and drawings of her vision for the mural were submitted to both Farmer and GO ART! for approval. After reviewing her submission, the project was greenlighted by both parties and she received a grant from GO ART! to complete the creative project.

“I hope this artwork helps to beautify our town as well as inspire others to create," Humphrey said. "Art, simply put, is a form of communication but it doesn’t need to be straight forward – everyone can interpret what they want from this and it can evoke different emotions.

"In a world where we are constantly told what to think, how to feel and how to act, it’s refreshing to take a step back and wonder a little bit.”

Humphrey hopes to work with other business owners in the future who might like a mural on the sides of their buildings. She just completed a freshening up of the colors of the American flag on the Tully’s restaurant building on East Main Street in Batavia.

July 5, 2019 - 3:54pm
posted by Lauren Leone in batavia, art, news, mural, surrealist-folk, watercolorist, notify.

BUFFALO -- eRic (sic) Luplow, a Batavia native and surrealist-folk “sur-folk” watercolorist, will unveil his eye-catching Yellow Dog Mural at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Elmwood Village, Buffalo.

Luplow recently completed a mural painting of a 20' x 30' angular, cube-like yellow dog on the side of the Visualeyes City optical shop building at 735 Elmwood Ave. The vibrant mural will be dedicated by Joel Feroleto, City of Buffalo common council member.

An art reception inside Visualeyes City will follow the unveiling.

To design his two-story-high image, Luplow referenced his sur-folk yellow dog painting from several years ago and worked with the dimensions of the building to recreate his piece. Over the course of four days, Luplow used a lift to outline his sketch with chalk and marker and add color to the project with wall paint.

The Yellow Dog Mural in Buffalo is his largest painting to date; his last mural is in the Valley International Airport in Harlingen, Texas.

“I’m a watercolor painter, so a mural is pretty far out there for me," Luplow said. "My biggest piece of work is usually 20 inches by 30 inches."

Luplow has had a passion for drawing and painting from a young age. He graduated from Batavia High School in 1975 and began as an electrician before pursuing his love for art.

Luplow currently resides with his wife, Peggy, in Truchas, NM, where he displays art in his gallery and paints in his trademark sur-folk style. Luplow describes sur-folk as a fusion of surrealism and folk art.

Sur-folk features vivid colors that mimic the hues and shapes found in the culture and landscapes of New Mexico. Luplow uses watercolor paints to capture his memorable experiences and personal struggles.

The watercolorist said family, friends and nationwide art collectors are traveling to Buffalo to view the mural, so he is excited to show off his artwork in the area of his upbringing for the first time.

“Everybody, whatever they do, is proud of it," Luplow said. "I’m proud of being an artist."

More of eRic Luplow’s work can be viewed at his website: www.ericluplow.com.

Photos courtesy of eRic Luplow.

March 31, 2018 - 1:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in art, GCC, mural.

Submitted photos and press release:

In 2014, the owners of the Village Bakery & Café in Downtown Rochester contacted Karen (Todd) Flack to paint a mural to illustrate their fresh food philosophy which boasts local farm products, produce and free-range eggs.

Flack was excited about the project and she developed a farm scene stretching across nearly a full wall in the Café. The 10' x 25' painting features the sun rising behind mountains that edge a farm with chickens, a cow, trees, a wagon, fields and flowers and a banner that reads: "It's not just what we use. It's what we don't." Patrons have been enjoying the mural for nearly four years since her original artwork was developed.

An adjunct Art teacher at Genesee Community College, Flack teaches all of her students to do their homework and use a variety of resources to maximize the impact of a visual assignment. In fact, she collected approximately 150 images for visual reference while doing the Village Bakery & Café painting. In her 10 years of teaching at GCC, Flack has enjoyed teaching students of all ages.

She has also worked various art restoration projects and architectural conservation projects including assignments in the Senator's Mansion in Churchville, The First Universalist Church in Rochester, and privately owned works by artists such as Andy Warhol and Ramon Santiago. She also designed the commemorative button for the Second Annual Orleans County Heritage Festival in 2017.

As both an artist and educator, Flack was recently honored when she discovered the mural in the Village Bakery & Café was being used as a reference by R.I.T. graduate student, Kelly Ryan in a teaching unit for a seventh-grade studio art class at The Harley School in Brighton.

The unit Ryan developed teaches students about effective use of the foreground, middle ground and background to develop great compositions, how to foster creativity and apply acrylic painting techniques. The farm-scape unit included a guest artist session where Ryan's students met Flack to discuss not only the mural, but the students' artwork, as well.

"I was so impressed seeing all of the pieces these young budding artists created using my work as inspiration," Flack said. "Most artists hope their work inspires or educates and it was humbling to see it first-hand in these students." 

Ryan's unit also served to illustrate the various careers available to artists.

"With each unit I teach, I work hard to make sure my students see the opportunities their learning and skills can produce," Ryan said. "Having Karen come into the classroom created a real-world connection for the students that demonstrated how art can be used to communicate messages, in this case the farm to table concept, to the community through a social context.

"The farm-scape unit culminated with a student art exhibit at the Village Bakery & Café. The public display really drove the students to produce their very best work."

Flack's mural, which was one of four nominated for the Best Mural in Rochester in 2014 is visible at the Village Bakery & Café at the Armory, located at 145 Culver Road in the City of Rochester.

To appreciate Flack's additional creativity in arts go to her website here, which features a video of her playing her violin or "fiddle" as a guest appearance with the Marshall Tucker Band at the Rochester Lilac Festival, and also her work at the Perry Chalk Art Festival where she won first place in 2016 and was the featured artist in 2017.

(In addition to the Culver Road location in Rochester, Village Bakery & Cafe has two other sites: in the Eastview Mall in the Town of Victor; and in the Village of Pittsford.)

December 11, 2008 - 7:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, mural.

I spotted this mural on Swan Street in Batavia a few days ago and was taken by the idea that it was probably painted prior to 9/11, and it's still there -- on what is otherwise a pretty run-down old building.  The mural, which consists of two panels of the New York City skyline, is signed "John Howard."

April 29, 2008 - 3:30pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, downtown, mural.

With the help of historian Larry Barnes, I've tracked down Vincenzo DelPlato, the jazz artist who painted the murals in Jackson Square, plus a few others around town.

Larry Barnes told me that Vincenzo's friends call him Vinny. So I called and asked for Vinny — folksiness often gets you further than formality, I find. I said my name is Philip. He called me Phil. And before you knew it, we were a couple of old pals chatting about art, about life and living it big.

Vinny's up in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire now. He's been there for some time with his wife and his little boy, Theo, he says. Jazz artist seems the best way to described how he paints — and how he talks: with style, a little syncopated, melodic and meaningful.

When I ask him why he paints murals, he tells me this, he says: "An old professor of mine at Buffalo once asked me: Vinny, do you want to be a Chinese firecracker or an A-bomb?"

Take a stroll through Jackson Park to see how Vinny answered that question. He started on the downtown murals in 1994, having got practice painting backdrops for a theater company in Leroy.

"I didn't want to work small," he says. "I want to make an impact with my life. So I took it upon myself to paint the walls that needed painting."

Outside in people's faces is where Vinny wants his art, inspired, he says, by a line from Claes Oldenburg, a sculptor who once said that art belongs anywhere but rotting on its butt in a museum somewhere. "He became one of my heroes," says Vinny.

He took his paint and brush out into the streets. Eventually, the city caught on that this jazz artist was doing great things, and they commissioned him to paint murals all over downtown. So he did it.

Larry Barnes laments the loss of one of Vinny's greatest city murals that was on the corner of Ellicott and Liberty streets. A photo of it can still be seen on Vinny's Web site. It was jazz art at its best: a rollicking, frenetic jam of just good old neighborhood folks, the very folks who lived around that corner, in fact.

"There's so much out there that can be brought back to life with a little paint, a brush and a lot of hard work," says Vinny. "A little sweat mixed with paint can go a long way."

April 29, 2008 - 11:58am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, downtown, mural.

All cities have their quirks and foibles.

Rochester has abandoned button factories filled with artists and evacuated tenements full of asbestos. Or, at least, that's how it is on my street. Buffalo has the Bills. Albany has our state government. New York City has the entire island of Manhattan.

What of Batavia, you ask? Some might say the high school football team. Though I'm less quick to judge, even if I'm told the tradition is to root against the home team at homecoming. (Everyone loves an underdog. Look at the Chicago Cubs.) Instead, I say just take a walk downtown. There are more murals painted on the brick of downtown buildings than... I don't know... homecoming wins for the football team.

Here's a pair from Ellicott Street, part of an Air Force theme on a few buildings there:

Properly curious, I've set out to see what the city thinks of its peeling treasures. Larry Barnes, the city historian, is on the case. He should be back to me by the end of the week with whatever research he digs up that tells us more about just why this city wants to paint all of its buildings. Maybe we'll find out who started it, too.

The few folks I've chatted up so far don't know what to think of the murals nor how they got here. If you have thoughts, please share them. In the meantime, I'll keep hunting for answers.

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