UB Arts Collaboratory’s Artist Creates Labyrinth at Silo City

German-born, Dara Friedman, is the latest artist brought to Western New York by the UB Arts Collaboratory.  Led by UB professor Maria S. Horne, the Collaboratory’s “Working Artist Lab” creates a space for UB students to learn and experience what it’s like to be a working artist while working together on a specific project.  Buffalo is the lucky recipient of these projects and this latest, a labyrinth entitled “River Hill,” is no exception, with collaborators including Josh Smith, director of ecology at Silo City.

Friedman is an acclaimed artist and filmmaker whose work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, to name but a few. The “River Hill” project is her second outdoor labyrinth. Designed to reflect the meander of the Buffalo River, the land on which it sits is located behind Rigidized Metals Corporation on Ohio Street, and for those familiar with the Silo City campus, not far from the popular Duende.  Friedman’s project shapes and sculpts the property into an active monument.

Dara Friedman | Photo by Sara Heidinger

“The invitation to come and work on this project was an amazing opportunity to make work that is larger than myself, which as an artist is something I aim for,” Friedman said.

To commemorate the fall equinox, the various collaborators came together to plant spotted bee balm, mountain mint and giant purple hyssop throughout the labyrinth, which will also be seeded with chamomile and yarrow later in the spring.

“We’re planting with pollinators that have been proven to be too spicy for deer.  Some of the plants have been grown from seed gathered in the wild. There’s going to be about 3000 pollinator plants going in,” Friedman said. 

“We are thrilled with the opportunity to partner with Dara and the UB Arts Collaboratory to bring this vision to life. It will have a huge ecological impact in addition to enriching the human experience of the site,” Smith said. 

The labyrinth is one continual path (unlike a maze that has multiple paths) that takes on a looping pattern, which Friedman hopes will offer up a fresh perspective. 

Dara Friedman | Photo by Sara Heidinger

“The point of the switch backs along the path is to allow the person walking to create a new muscle memory and to see their world, inner and outer, from a different point of view,” Friedman said. 

The opportunity to put the labyrinth in Silo City was made possible by Rigidized Metals owner Rick Smith, who has worked with UB on multiple projects. Silo City hosts both public and private events throughout the year and plans for a celebration of “River Hill” are in the works and will likely take place during the summer. 

“The labyrinth provides an ancient and living form that works together to help us bond with nature, the divine, and the nature of ourselves,” Friedman said. 

Horne adds, “We hope the community comes to Silo City and “River Hill” to experience serenity of the labyrinth and the beauty of the plantings throughout the changing seasons.”

To learn more about the Arts Collaboratory click here.

The post UB Arts Collaboratory’s Artist Creates Labyrinth at Silo City appeared first on Buffalo Rising.

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