Artistic input sought for archway to Michigan Street corridor

Feb 4, 2015

Credit / WBFO News

Buffalo’s intersection of Michigan Street and Broadway will soon be a place to welcome people to the city’s African American Heritage Corridor.

$300,000 of state and city funds have been allocated to build an iconic archway at the intersection.

Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission Chair Karen Stanley Fleming led a forum of community members on Tuesday night to share opinions on what the design should entail.

“We want to treat whatever the next few months are as not just a building and construction project. We want it to really be a historic interpretation project. And interpreting themes of African-American history, interpreting themes of freedom, from abolition to civil rights to freedom for cultural and artistic expression,” said Fleming.

Fleming says one of the key desires of the public was very clearly stated in the forum.

“They want to involve artists. That they see this not only as a public works and a construction project, they see this as an architectural historic interpretation project. That requires artists,” she said.

Tuesday night's forum for public input on archway concepts for the intersection of Michigan Street and Broadway
Credit Avery Schneider / WBFO News

Among the voices at the forum was former Common Council President James Pitts, who says the archway’s design must be considered amidst larger themes.

“You need to have this archway tied to the interpretive themes that have been developed for the Michigan Street preservation area and also for the Michigan Avenue historic corridor,” said Pitts.

Fleming says the archway is the first step in a “place-making” plan for the corridor, meant to let visitors know that they are in a special place in the city. She says with agreement from the public, the structure could be built within the fiscal year.