by Doug Sitler

Many years ago, Buffalo political and civic leader George Arthur began taking photographs of various street signs throughout Buffalo. During his travels, Arthur noticed numerous neighborhood murals painted on buildings, bridges and houses. To his surprise, the murals were of pretty good artistic quality and had a deeper meaning to the neighborhood artists. Some images gave messages of hope to the community, while other murals paid homage to residents who have passed away. He could tell that the painting had a story behind them…who painted these images? Where are the families and artists? Before the work began, did the community approve of the images?

They were all questions Arthur would ask himself upon discovering and photographing the murals. The photographs that evoke these thoughts are on display at the Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Community Gallery, located at the visitor center inside the Market Arcade building at 617 Main Street. The opening of the show “Street Art” is Friday, September 11th from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. It is free and open to the public. The exhibit is sponsored by CEPA Gallery, with assistance from the CVB. For more information about the visitor center, go to

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by Doug Sitler

observation_deckBuffalo is a handsome city – full of inspirational beauty, class and natural elements. Just driving down any street in Buffalo provides an authentic encounter with an early American city. Sometimes it’s fun to take a step back and inspect the city from afar. Over the years, I have found the following locations offer thought-provoking views of Buffalo and terrific photo opportunities.

Buffalo City Hall Observation Deck – Personally speaking, it’s hard to beat the views from City Hall’s 28th floor observation deck. The deck is open from 9:00 to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and is worth the visit. From the observation deck you step out onto a narrow outdoor walkway that provides 360-degree views of the City of Buffalo, the waterfront and Lake Erie, the mist from Niagara Falls and 40 miles beyond on a clear day.

Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park – Make this a stop on your fall leaf peeping tour. At the sledding hill there are amazing views of downtown Buffalo (16 miles away) over a canopy of lush trees – spectacular in the fall months.

Erie Basin Marina Lighthouse – Walk or ride out to the Erie Basin Marina Lighthouse in downtown Buffalo. At the base you’ll find some stairs that will take you to the 50ft high observation deck. I enjoy the view of Buffalo’s growing waterfront community, with the unique characteristics of Buffalo’s downtown skyline in the back ground.

Marcy Casino/Hoyt Lake, Delaware Park – The base of the Marcy Casino at Hoyt Lake offers tranquil views of a beautiful Frederick Law Olmsted lake and park, with a walking path and a grand concourse in front of the Casino. A creative photo opportunity awaits by looking up from the lake at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery – nature, architecture, fountain…all in one shot!

Old Lakeshore Road – on a return trip from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Graycliff Estate, you will experience an incredible view of Buffalo overlooking Lake Erie. It offers a visual reference of Buffalo’s binational location and how Lake Erie played an important role in the city’s past (grain elevators and industry) and future (Steel Winds windmills).

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by Ed Healy

cloche-in-situOpenings at CEPA Gallery, Buffalo’s gallery dedicated to the photographic arts, are always fun affairs. And no opening is more fun than the annual members exhibition when Buffalo’s photographers gather to celebrate their latest work, share some insights and partake of some delicious food and drink. This year’s Members Exhibition, which opened on Saturday night, was no exception. A full house reveled in the high quality array of still images and video.

The 2009 exhibit is highlighted by a solo show from Canadian photographer Penelope Stewart. Stewart’s “Echo Topias” is an impressive exhibit of beautiful large scale, multiple panel color photographs, interspersed by a series of duraclears that resemble large format glass plate negatives. Impressive as the color photographs are, the negative images are startling in their originality and presentation and well worth a visit by anyone with a love of visual art. A second solo show, “Memory Mapping” by artist Sue O’Donnell, is a provocative piece of conceptual art executed with skill and panache.

The members show, housed in CEPA’s Underground Gallery, is an eclectic array of contemporary photography. Buffalo’s photographic community never fails to impress with its creativity and experimentation and this year you’ll find gorgeous old school black and white prints, large-scale digital color work, video, and collage. It’s yet another example of the vibrant arts community to be found in Buffalo. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Burchfield Penney Art Center may be Buffalo’s internationally recognized art museums, but smaller spaces like CEPA, Hallwalls, Big Orbit and Buffalo Arts Studio each contribute to a vibrant visual arts scene that equals or surpasses those found in much larger cities.

CEPA Gallery is located in Buffalo’s historic and beautiful Market Arcade, 617 Main Street. The Members Exhibition and the Penelope Stewart and Sue O’Donnell solo shows run through March 21st.