A mural that incorporates artwork created by individuals with Down syndrome will help drive awareness and acceptance in the community.
GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Center is launching a project to bring an outdoor mural to life celebrating individuals with Down syndrome. Located on the wall of GiGi’s Playhouse directly across the street from the Anderson Gallery (on Martha Jackson Place in Buffalo), the mural will feature butterflies painted by GiGi’s Playhouse participants. The butterfly symbolizes the many qualities admired in people with Down syndrome and has become an accepted symbol of Down syndrome awareness.
“GiGi’s Playhouse’s vision is to see a world where individuals with Down syndrome are accepted and embraced in their families, schools and communities. Our building plays an important role in that vision. We take such pride in the facility as we want everyone going by to see, learn about, and accept our community exactly as it is. This mural will do wonders for that awareness as well as raising the foot traffic in our neighborhood. We are so grateful to Ingram Micro, UB Anderson Gallery, and Julia for helping us make this dream a reality,” said GiGi’s Playhouse Buffalo board president, Will Mondschein.
The mural project is funded through a grant from Ingram Micro. Headquartered in Irvine, California, and Buffalo, Ingram Micro is a worldwide distributor of information technology products. Giving back to the communities in which it operates is an integral part of Ingram Micro’s commitment to social responsibility and it has donated more than $4.4 million to nonprofit organizations across the globe.
The mission of UB Anderson Gallery is education, research and maintenance of the University at Buffalo’s permanent collection. It provides an adventuresome and accessible environment, therefore offering a rich cultural resource to the campus, scholars, regional communities and the public. The gallery is dedicated to collaboration between the university, cultural institutions and the community in order to enrich educational programs.
Bottoms is a visual artist/muralist based out of Buffalo. Her work often addresses the topic of identity as it relates to one’s position in mainstream culture. She views her art as an opportunity to reverse the stigma and stereotypes imposed on individuals by popular media. Bottoms’ mural projects include pieces for Buffalo Forge, The Tri-Main Center, The East Delavan Library, The Albright Knox Freedom Wall and The Mamie Smith Memorial mural in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her work has been featured on the cover of The Public, in the Buffalo Spree, The Challenger, HBO’s “Insecure,” and online through AfroPunk. She received a BA in art from Buffalo State College in 2012 and her masters in 2017
GiGi’s Playhouse Buffalo is located at 326 Kenmore Ave. It serves all individuals with Down syndrome and their families in the greater community. For more information, visit www.gigisplayhouse.org/buffalo.