The HarborCenter Public Art Contest features six finalists vying for a cash prize and a chance to have their work viewed for years to come by the hundreds of thousands who will be making their way past one of downtown Buffalo's marquee locations.
"Given the construction of HarborCenter, the loading dock doors are really at the front facade of Harbor Center itself," said Frank Cravotta, Executive Vice President for Creative Services for Pegula Sports & Entertainment.
That peculiar feature gave rise to the HarborCenter Public Art Contest. Cravotta says dozens of entries were submitted by artists seeking to have their work featured on the outside of HarborCenter. A committee narrowed the list to six.
"The quality is great," Cravotta said of the submissions.
"The subject matter was...people get it, people know where the city was and where it's going and a lot of these finalists are depicting that in really creative, unique ways and we're really happy."
As of Friday, 2,000 votes had been cast at https://sabres.formstack.com/forms/art_vote
For Cravotta, the contest contains a personal connection.
"After college, I painted murals around Buffalo to make ends meet. One of them is still up---it's the big lion on the side of Manny's Restaurant on Delaware Avenue," Cravotta said.
"It was nice that when I went to ownership with the idea to do this that were very much supportive of it and that it's going to give a local artist a pretty unique canvas."
Organizers have intentionally withheld the names of the contending artists until the contest voting concludes on February 17th.
"The more that we can do this the better. I know Philadelphia is a city with a tremendous mural program and I think that maybe we're lagging a little bit behind, but we're trying to do our part to open these opportunities up."