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Opportunity – call for Public Art Installation proposal – deadline is October 6, 2011
Sep 30th, 2011

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For Immediate Release:  September 13, 2011

Erich Weyant (ECHDC) | | 716.846.8258

ECHDC Authorizes Funding for Naval Park Bistro

Updates provided on Request for Proposals for public art using the Skyway and Connecting Terminal Grain Elevator and efforts on the Outer Harbor

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) today agreed to provide funding to the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park for the construction of a restaurant on the ground floor and patio of the Naval Museum. The funding will consist of $182,000 with a 10 percent reserve used for construction contingency and will not exceed $200,000. The money will be used for capital improvements, such as improvements to plumbing, electrical, fixtures and HVAC systems.

The Naval Museum was constructed as part of the Erie Canal Civic Project, along with the reconstruction of the Commercial Slip and the installation of the Central Wharf.
Although it was expected that a restaurant would be part of the museum when the area opened to the public in 2008, limits to the budget prevented the construction of such a facility. The Naval and Military Park issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a restaurant at the museum this past spring, and Michael Shatzel of the Blue Monk and Jason Davidson of the Waterline Café were chosen as the vendors.

“The public has repeatedly indicated that dining is among its top priorities when it comes to the waterfront,” said ECHDC President Thomas P. Dee. “Dining and shopping were the primary categories supported by the respondents to Mayor Byron Brown’s Citizen Waterfront Forum last fall, and food was the number one item requested by the public during ECHDC’s open houses last winter. This restaurant is another sign of progress at Canalside and, as the lead agency in waterfront development, ECHDC is proud to be able to contribute the capital support necessary to make it a reality.”

In addition, taking a significant step towards its goal of including public art at Canalside, ECHDC has issued an RFP that invites internationally and critically acclaimed artists who can demonstrate the ability to design and implement large scale, complex, public art commissions to submit qualifications and proposals for an art commission at the Skyway and/or the Connecting Terminal Grain Elevator (CTGE). ECHDC will work with representatives from the New York Power Authority (NYPA), which owns the CTGE, and the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT), owner of the Skyway. The current project budget is $1.5 to $2 million.

Proposals will be evaluated by the ECHDC Art Advisory Group, which is composed of local and nationally recognized art professionals and collectors. Louis Grachos, Executive Director of the Albright Knox Art Gallery, is the chair of the group. Members include Molly Donovan, Associate Curator at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; Sandra Firmin, Curator at the University at Buffalo Art Gallery/Center for the Arts; and Michael Joseph, President of Clover Management Inc. and prolific collector of international contemporary art. The Art Advisory Group will evaluate artists based on their past performance and experience with commission of projects similar to this RFP.  

“Buffalo has a long tradition of embracing and encouraging the work of the world’s best artists,” said Grachos. “Bringing that remarkable legacy together with the extraordinary changes happening at Canalside will further enable Buffalo to establish its place in the 21st Century.”

“The New York State Department of Transportation is pleased to be a part of this exciting project to bring art to Canalside and the Waterfront,” said Acting DOT Regional Director Darrell Kaminski.  “We look forward to continuing our partnership in the redevelopment of the waterfront.”

The Art Advisory Group will recommend up to five qualified artists to the ECHDC Board of Directors on November 15, 2011. ECHDC will then establish a Selection Committee consisting of ECHDC and Empire State Development (ESD) personnel; the Art Advisory Committee; and representatives from NYPA, NYSDOT and the City of Buffalo to review the artists proposals. Following a series of public presentations and final evaluations, the Selection Committee will recommend to the ECHDC Board of Directors one or more final artists to select, contract with, and move forward with final design and installation.

All artists who wish to be considered as candidates for this commission must submit their qualification materials by noon EST on October 6, 2011. All questions regarding the RFP must be directed in writing to Kaitlin McGee, Assistant Project Manager at ECHDC. Contact with any other person at ECHDC, ESD or the State regarding this solicitation is prohibited by law. 

A copy of the RFP and attachments can be found at:

Next, David J. Colligan, chairman of the Outer Harbor Advisory Group, issued an oral report on ECHCD’s efforts on the Outer Harbor. Colligan discussed plans to make the area available for public use.

“This is a two step process that will accomplish several laudable goals,” said Colligan. “It will open up a new section of the waterfront to the community, and will complete another piece in the Niagara River Greenway puzzle.”

Planning will be initiated in several months, and will involve areas formerly owned by Cargill and NYPA. The site is currently under review as part of the larger Buffalo Brownfield Opportunity Area study being conducted by the City of Buffalo. ECHDC’s efforts will focus on temporary uses, while the city completes its work.

“Our goal is to make the area environmentally safe and to create new public access,” said Colligan, noting that the plans will mark the agency’s first significant steps on the Outer Harbor.  “When the remediation work is complete, ECHDC will have created its first shovel ready development site on the Outer Harbor.”

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation is a subsidiary agency of Empire State Development Corporation whose vision is to revitalize Western New York’s waterfront and restore economic growth to Buffalo based on the region’s legacy of pride, urban significance and natural beauty.