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`Round Man` (Image courtesy of Empire State Development)
"Round Man" (Image courtesy of Empire State Development)

ECHDC announces unveiling of 'Round Man' sculpture on Buffalo's Outer Harbor


Thu, Oct 6th 2022 08:25 pm

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. announced the unveiling of the renowned sculpture “Round Man” on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor.

A press release noted the 20-foot steel sculpture is now located on the Greenway Nature Trail near the water’s edge, replacing “Flat Man” – “the previous sculpture that became an immediate beacon on the waterfront, capturing the imaginations of thousands of people and becoming a social media star.”

Prior to its new home at the Outer Harbor, “Round Man” – like “Flat Man” – originated at Griffis Sculpture Park in East Otto, New York.

“ ‘Round Man’ now adds to the number of public artworks displayed on the city's waterfront, including the wind sculptures at Wilkeson Pointe and Shark Girl at Canalside,” said Robert Gioia, chairman of ECHDC. “Lake Erie provides a magnificent backdrop for guests to experience art in the unique setting of the waterfront. We know that ‘Round Man’ will be every bit as successful as ‘Flat Man’ in attracting visitors to the Outer Harbor.”

The press release stated, “ ‘Round Man,’ created in 1967 by Buffalo sculptor Larry Griffis Jr., is an iconic piece that originated at Griffis Sculpture Park, one of the first and largest sculpture parks in North America. The sculpture, standing almost three stories high and weighing close to 2,500 lbs., ‘Round Man’ has resided on the East Hill of Griffis Sculpture Park for over 55 years. One of the most loved features of the piece is his circular inclusivity.

“Prior to its installation on the Outer Harbor, the sculpture was refurbished at Essex Art Center on Buffalo’s west side. The steel that makes up ‘Round Man’ was designed and donated by Bethlehem Steel. This type of steel is the Mayari R Cor-Ten rod steel, which is no longer in production today. It came directly from Griffis Sculpture Park to ensure that the refurbishing of ‘Round Man’ had the same look and age of the existing steel.”

The “Round Man” sculpture was part of a large commission that included “The Dancer,” “Flat Man,” “Fecund Figures,” “Deserted,” “The Oracle” and “The “Clown” – which were fabricated at a warehouse on Niagara Street prior to the purchase of the Essex Arts Center. The sculptures were originally placed at Kissing Bridge Ski Resort, but were moved in 1966 when The Ashford Hollow Foundation purchased 450 acres in East Otto.

Nila Griffis Lampman, executive director of the Ashford Hollow Foundation for the Visual and Performing Arts, said, “ ‘Round Man’ is a magnificent sight at its new location on the waterfront. Larry Griffis would have been proud to see one of his works prominently displayed on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. I want to thank the visionaries at ECHDC and everyone on our talented team for making this project possible.”

“Round Man” will be on loan from Griffis for five years. The specific location of the sculpture was chosen to be viewed by boaters, pedestrians, bike riders and other visitors at the Bell Slip.

The press release said, “ECHDC is committed to supporting public art along the waterfront. Multiple art installations have become a popular and dynamic part of both Canalside and the Outer Harbor, including the wind sculptures at Wilkeson Pointe, ‘Shark Girl,’ the ‘Silent Poets’’ and the Connecting Terminal Grain Elevator, the largest permanent light display to date.

For more information on ECHDC, visit www.eriecanalharbor.com.

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