2021 Play/Ground Festival Features 10 Days of Public Art and Activities August 6-15

29 artists, 20 projects, 5 sites — all within a 7-mile radius

BUFFALO, NY—PLAY/GROUND, a family-friendly, ten-day public art festival featuring curated, site-specific installations by contemporary artists with a focus on the experimental, immersive and ambitious, will be held August 6-15, 2021 across five locations that connect downtown Buffalo and the Broadway-Fillmore district.

“Art has the ability to reflect and celebrate the unique perspectives of our diverse community and PLAY/GROUND invites everyone to join in this unique experience,” said Emily Tucker, director of Resource: Art. “From public displays, free art-making workshops and performances, families and friends will enjoy ten days of various works by artists from Western New York as well as Texas, New York City and Canada.”

This year, the festival is focused on health and wellness through the arts, with guided and self-guided bike tours within the 7-mile radius that includes the work of 29 artists, with 20 projects at five locations:

  • The Central Terminal

  • Broadway Market

  • The Handley Room at The Lederman Building

  • Matt Urban Center

  • Canalside

The safety and comfort of all visitors is a top priority and a majority of the installations and events will take place outdoors, or in areas where social distancing can be easily observed. It’s free to visit the installations and most events! Attendees may register for specific events and purchase tickets on the PLAY/GROUND website.

2021 Projects & Artists:

Buffalo Central Terminal — 495 Paderewski Drive, Buffalo, NY 14212

  • Municipal Sentiment: Sod Forms, Kyle Butler — A series of sculptures made primarily with grass, suspended on taught lengths of chain link.

  • Come and Find Me, Sara Zak — Childhood comes and goes in a blink of an eye; come find yours again in a scavenger hunt for characters and creatures made of children’s books.

  • Core Sample, Sarah Fonzi — A monumental column of fictional geological earth strata to illustrate a place’s distinct history as impacted by changing inhabitants.

  • Portal, Valeria A. Cray & Hiram Cray — It will energize and unify the area and bring in good spirits.

Broadway Market — 999 Broadway Street, Buffalo, NY 14212

  • A Digital Garden Grows, Diana Lynn VanderMeulen & Sasha Stiles — The collective nurturing of lifecycles and calm environments; in gardening and growth we trust. Curated by Miriam Arbus & Jess Conatser.

  • Broadway Market Postcards, Julia Dzwonkoski — Postcards celebrating the colorways and vibes of the Broadway Market.

  • Drop Ceiling, Legba Graphics (William Quintana + Christa Trautman) — Finding the joy and wonder in the Broadway Market parking garage waffle grid.

  • insomnia, memory loss, lethargy, and insanity, Christopher Squier — In a series of digital works printed on fabric, artist Christopher Squier creates collages that combine abstraction and distortion as well as images of glass Fresnel lenses found in internet searches. Together, the resulting images embody mathematical principles from quantum physics and take up photographic conversations about the bending of light and subsequent warping of reality.

  • Poetic Cafe, Bianca L. McGraw — An interactive installation that engages participants with poetry, art, music, comedy, craft, and meditation.

The Handley Room, The Lederman Building — 239 Lombard Street, Buffalo, NY 14212

  • Current Affairs, Rich Tomasello — An installation created in part by a diverse group of teenagers, working with artist Rich Tomasello, sharing their feelings, hopes, anxieties, and fears of our current times.

  • In Flux, Colleen Toledano — A multi-media installation made of paper, lumber, and light to submerge viewers in an environment of the everchanging flows of nature.

  • Rust Belt Requiem, Darryl Lauster — An assemblage of Buffalo’s industrial history recomposed as a public monument.

  • Sounding Spaces, Senso di Voce: Esin Gunduz & Megan Kyle — An immersive sound installation that embodies musical resonances across time, geography, and genre.

Matt Urban Hope Center — 1088 Broadway Street, Buffalo, NY 14212

  • City of Fences, Zeitpunk (Matthew Graham) — If Buffalo is the “City of Good Neighbors” and if “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,” does that make Buffalo the “City of Fences”?

  • The Same Stream Twice, Lindsey Griffith — A short play about communication and miscommunication that reappropriates imagery from online theatre back into real-time and space.

  • Parallel Intersection, Laurel Hartman/Sarah Kinard — An intuitive play with the idea of straddling the line between abstraction and representation.

  • A How-to-Guide: An Interactive journey into the mind behind the rhyme, Brandon Williamson — A curated performance piece created by Brandon Williamson especially for the Matt Urban stage.

Canalside — 44 Prime Street, Buffalo, NY 14202

  • Apertures/Apparitions, Adam Thibodeux — Apertures/Apparitions seeks to reanimate the ghost of the Gillet & Sons Distillery at Canalside by infilling the voids that once served as thresholds with speculative apertures. It defamiliarizes physical traces of impermanence (ruins) made flat (through printed image) and ruptured by both the hand of the maker and the body of the occupant.

  • ECHO, Randy Fernando — Make noise, make light.

All locations

  • The Gathering Place, Camilla Lee, Dorethea Edwards, Jay Hawkins, Lisa Brown, and Shantelle Patton — Five artists from the Buffalo’s Own, Inc. collective will present a series of benches co-created with community members that will be spread across each of the PLAY/GROUND sites. After PLAY/GROUND, the benches will  find permanent homes in the Fillmore district and live on as markers of  shared community and the creative ambition of our city.

The full list of artists whose work will be on view from Canalside to the Broadway Fillmore Neighborhood is below, and you can learn more about each project by visiting artplaygroundny.com/2021-projects.

2021 PLAY/GROUND Artists: Lisa Brown • Kyle Butler • Valeria A. Cray & Hiram Cray • Julia Dzwonkoski • Dorethea Edwards • Randy Fernando • Sarah Fonzi • Lindsey Griffith • Laural Hartman & Sarah Kinard • Jay Hawkins • Darryl Lauster • Camilla Lee • Legba Graphics: William Quintana + Christa Trautman • Bianca L. McGraw • Shantelle Patton • Senso di Voce: Esin Gunduz & Megan Kyle • Christopher Squier • Adam Thibodeaux • Rich Tomasello • Colleen Toledano • Diana Lynn VanderMeulen & Sasha Stiles • Brandon Williamson • Sara Zak • Zeitpunk (Matthew Graham)

PLAY/GROUND is presented by M&T Bank and organized by BICA (The Buffalo Institute for Contemporary Art) and Resource:Art. Because of PLAY/GROUND’s generous application sponsor, The Burchfield Penney Art Center, this year the $25 application fee was waived and it was free for anyone to apply.


PLAY/GROUND is an annual series of events featuring curated, site-specific installations by contemporary artists with a focus on the experiential, immersive, and ambitious. More information about PLAY/GROUND 2020 is available at www.artplaygroundny.com, including images from 2018, 2019, 2020 PLAY/GROUNDs. Follow PLAY/GROUND on Facebook and Instagram @artplaygroundny.


Resource:Art is a unique partnership that brings together the talents of two independent WNY gallerists, Elisabeth Samuels and Emily Tucker whose most recent collaboration is Raft Of Sanity, a new gallery space opening in September 2021. Samuels, & Tucker each have extensive curatorial experience and professional relationships with artists working in a wide range of media, including painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, fiber, and mixed media works. Resource:Art also manages the execution of site-specific fine art and considers every project as a unique collaboration between the artist and the site, navigating aesthetic, formal, and functional concerns.


The Buffalo Institute for Contemporary Art (BICA) is a non-profit art and education project located in the historic Essex Street Arts Center. BICA’s mission is to model the ways culture can sustain communities through focused, practical engagements with contemporary art, including innovative exhibitions of visual artists, regional arts ecosystem development projects, and the creation of accessible opportunities for education and skill building. Learn more at thebica.org.


Through financial support, activation of its resources and the volunteerism of its employees, M&T Bank, through its philanthropic arm, The M&T Charitable Foundation, supports a diverse range of cultural, civic, education, health care, human service and youth organizations that add value to the communities in which it does business.  More information is available at www.mtb.com.