9 Places to See Unique Public Art Installations in WNY

Art, City Guide, Culture & Arts, Things to Do


Written by Emily Malkowski

Published on October 30, 2022
public art: shark girl
Shark Girl / Photo courtesy of the Albright-Knox

So, we can all agree at this point that Buffalo’s mural scene is pretty solid, right? Chances are you’ve seen our street art guides by now, which list out all of the incredible murals you can find in different neighborhoods around the city. But what about all of the other public art installations in Western New York?

In addition to Buffalo’s iconic street art, our city’s comprehensive public art initiatives and some extraordinary talent from both local and visiting national artists, Western New York has way more to offer than just murals. Whether you have five minutes or five hours to explore, use our guide below to check out some of Buffalo’s best public art installations. (Murals not included!)


1. Shark Girl – Canalside Buffalo 

Artist: Casey Riordan Millard 

Buffalo’s favorite girl is always out, rain or shine (or snow), at her little corner of Canalside near the Children’s Museum. Created by artist Casey Riordan Millard, “Shark Girl” actually made her first public appearance in Cincinnati, where she spent time posing for pictures at a public park before finding her home here in Buffalo back in 2014.

public art: tanglewood
Tanglewood / Photo x Emily Malkowski

2. Tanglewood – Bassett Park

Artist: Shayne Dark

Created by Canadian Artist Shayne Dark, Tanglewood brings a bright pop of color to the wide open space of Basset Park. The piece is a part of the Albright-Knox’s Public Art Initiative, and was previously on display at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens before making its way out to Amherst.

public art: Balancing Act
Balancing Act / Photo courtesy of the Albright-Knox

3. Balancing Act – Five Points Bakery

Artist: Aakash Nihalani

Over on the West Side is Aakash Nihalani’s free-standing sculpture that’s meant to “playfully disrupt our perception of space.” Looking like a two-dimensional creation straight out of an animated cartoon, Balancing Act is always on display near Five Points Bakery.


public art: look and see
look and see / Photo courtesy of the Albright-Knox

4. look and see – Richardson Olmsted Complex

look and see, a gorgeous stainless steel sculpture created by artist Jim Hodges, was always intended to be accessible to the public. The piece, which weighs nine tons (!!) aims to challenge viewer perceptions with its cut-out, mirrored surfaces, and was originally installed at The Battery in Manhattan before shipping off to Buffalo in 2006 where it now resides at the Richardson Olmsted Complex.

public art: walk through
Walk Through / Photo courtesy of the Albright-Knox

5. Walk Through – 87 Carlton Street

All public art is interactive by design, but there aren’t many installations that you can literally walk right through. Beverly Pepper’s Walk Through, which is on display downtown near Roswell Park, invites viewers to fully immerse themselves within the sculpture and consider how the surrounding environment plays a role in their viewing experience.

public art: Griffis Sculpture Park
Griffis Sculpture Park / Photo courtesy of Griffis Sculpture Park

6. Griffis Sculpture Park – East Otto, NY

If you’re up for a bit of a drive, venture out to Griffis Sculpture Park, one of America’s largest and oldest sculpture parks located just outside of Ellicottville. The park features over 250 larger than life sculptures made by Larry Griffis, Jr. and other international artists, each one immersed within trees, trails, and even ponds to create a unique viewing experience where nature and art collide.


Outer Harbor / Photo x Step Out Buffalo

7. Kinetic Wind Sculptures at Wilkeson Pointe Park

Artist: Whitaker Studios

Created in 2013 as a part of the waterfront’s ongoing revitalization, these four incredibly unique wind sculptures are situated right on the water at Wilkeson Pointe Park. They’re a gorgeous addition to an already beautiful waterfront— getting a view of them during a summer sunset is an absolute must!

public art: BUFFALO
BUFFALO Letters / Photo courtesy of Instagram: @andreaklm87

8. Metal BUFFALO Letters – Hertel Ave

One of the most recent additions to Hertel’s robust outdoor gallery of street art is a pretty simple cluster of metal letters— but depending on how you approach them, you might see a different message. Joel Feroleto and Andrew Chambers worked together to stagger the letters perfectly so that from the West, they simply read “BFLO,” but continue walking and you’ll see other letters reveal themselves to spell out “BUFFALO” in its entirety.

Gut Flora / Photo courtesy of The Abright-Knox Art Gallery

9. Gut Flora – at the NFTA’s Allen/Medical Campus Station

Created by Buffalo based artist, Shasti O’Leary Soudant, Gut Flora is a fresh pop of color at the NFTA’s Medical Campus station. Relating to the medical field, the whimiscal twists of the sculptures create helical forms meant to represent bacteria and how beneficial bacteria is essential to good health.

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This post was originally published in 2020 and has been updated.

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Written by <a href="" target="_self">Emily Malkowski</a>

Written by Emily Malkowski

Based in Buffalo, Emily is a marketing professional by day, and a freelance writer by night. She is passionate about uncovering unique stories, and dreams of cross-country road trips, endless sunshine, and adopting multiple dogs.


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