Submitted by the Erie County District Attorney’s Office
On Friday, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn invited Buffalo Public School students to attend an unveiling of their “Mural Mania!” summer art program project. The artwork, designed and created by the students, was recently installed in the reception area of the Erie County District Attorney’s office.
At the unveiling of “Peace, Justice, Community: Perspectives of Youth Artists 2023,” the students were joined by their caregivers; Buffalo Public School District Superintendent Dr. Tonja M. Williams; Brandon Portis, law clerk for 8th Judicial District Administrative Judge Hon. Kevin M. Carter; Erie County 1st District Legislator Howard J. Johnson Jr.; and Dr. Michele Agosto, director of arts for Buffalo Public Schools.
“Mural Mania!” is a five-week specialized summer arts program open to a limited number of Buffalo Public School students entering into grades 6-12. The students worked alongside James Cooper III, a Buffalo-based visual artist, to develop the design concept and create the artwork focused on peace, justice and community. The students also wrote poetry inspired by the concepts in the paintings.
The paintings were installed in the reception area of the district attorney’s office, located on the sixth floor of the Erie County Court building. Additional paintings created by the students were hung throughout the seventh floor of the office.
In order to develop ideas for the designs, the students were invited tour and learn the history of the Erie County Court building. On July 26, the District Attorney’s office hosted 20 students from the summer arts program. The students visited the Erie County Legislature, where they met with Johnson to learn about the Public Art Act. State Supreme Court Justice John Licata and Court Officer Wood provided a history lesson about the courthouse. Judge Carter joined Chief John Feroleto of our office’s major crimes unit, Assistant District Attorney Noha Elnakib and Assistant District Attorney Justin Caldwell in a roundtable discussion about the meaning of justice and the role of art and poetry in a criminal trial.