PLAY/GROUND Festival: Public Art Extravaganza Back in Buffalo

Published on July 20, 2021

multi-coloured sculpture at play/ground festival in buffalo

The fourth annual PLAY/GROUND festival is set to return to Buffalo this August. The public art extravaganza will be held at four different locations across the city from August 6th to 15th.

For 10 days, the four locations — Central Terminal, Broadway Market, Matt Urban Center and Canalside — will become home to a collection of 20 colorful, vibrant and thought-provoking art installations on display for the public to enjoy. Spanning a 10-mile radius, the works will connect downtown Buffalo with the Broadway-Fillmore area.

Play/Ground Festival Connects Communities Through Art

This year, PLAY/GROUND in Buffalo will be socially distant just like last year’s event, which was spread across 11 different locations and 22 projects. The PLAY/GROUND festival is organized by the Buffalo Institute for Contemporary Art (BICA) and Resource:Art, a collaboration between artists and gallerists Emily Tucker and Elisabeth Samuels.

“We are excited to share our vision for this year’s art PLAY/GROUND, which will connect downtown Buffalo and the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood through art,” said Emily Tucker, director of Resource:Art, in a statement. “Our goal for this year is to bring diverse communities together to reflect on unique perspectives, heal and grow together as one strong Western New York community.”

Play/Ground Event Offers ‘a Sense of Hope Through Art’

Accessible for people of all ages, the event seeks to unite the community and offer a sense of hope through art.

As a welcoming area that has experienced hardship over the years, especially since the pandemic, the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood is the ideal backdrop for the PLAY/GROUND festival. In addition to showcasing the artists’ work, the event will solidify relationships with local businesses and increase revenue streams for everyone involved.

The organization put out a call for submissions earlier this spring. “We are looking for the experimental, the immersive, the ambitious, and most importantly, the projects that engage individuals and families in WNY. We hope to spark creativity, conversation, and community!” PLAY/GROUND wrote in an Instagram post.

Food Trucks, Live Music & More at Play/Ground

Running the gamut from painters to photographers, the list of artists participating in this year’s PLAY/GROUND festival includes Lisa Brown, Kyle Butler, Julia Dzwonkoski and many more, totaling 29 creators altogether.

“Our selection of this year’s venues is intentional, and we hope to engage new artists and new communities to create a shared experience that is engaging and accessible for all visitors,” Emily Tucker said in a statement.

The event will also feature food trucks, open artist studios, live music and performances. The organizers of PLAY/GROUND are encouraging you to ride your bike for exercise or walk (walking just 15 minutes a day is a natural mood booster) between the installations to add a wellness component to the event while observing pandemic guidelines. Learn more at artplaygroundny.com.

More Fun Things to Do in Buffalo

Looking for more fun things to do in Buffalo this summer?  

For more Buffalo art, here are three stunning street murals that depict the fascinating history of the area.

Another public art initiative in Buffalo includes the installation of several giant sculptures from celebrated ceramicist Jun Kaneko at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House. The works are installed throughout the historic landscaping and free to view. 

If you want to view art in an air-conditioned space, check out the Van Gogh Buffalo exhibit. This immersive exhibit uses multimedia effects like light and a symphonic score to take the viewer on an epic journey through over 300 of the legendary painter’s artworks.

Garden Walk Buffalo is America’s largest garden tour — view the city’s most creative and impressive gardens for free.

Music lovers should catch a show from JazzBuffalo, which is rebranding jazz as a popular art form in the city.

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The Author
Mackenzie Patterson is a Toronto-based writer and journalist. She enjoys long walks, iced coffee on tap, and discovering all the latest and greatest health and wellness trends.