The sweeping zinc facade of the Burchfield Penney Art Center is no longer just a wall. It’s a projection surface. Buffalo’s seasons are no longer just the weather. They’re curators. Elmwood Avenue at Rockwell Road is no longer just another street corner. It’s the Front Yard at the Center—the world’s first permanent, environmentally-responsive, 24/7/365, outdoor audio and image experience. And on October 18, it turned on forever.

Turning on forever.

Artist Brian Milbrand and architect Brad Wales envisioned the transformation of the Burchfield Penney Art Center’s exterior into a backdrop for audio and image, turning the traditional notion of a gallery inside out. They imagined art curated—created even—by the seasons, the weather, the passage of time. On October 18, this concept became reality as the Front Yard at the Center was unveiled. To celebrate, we closed Elmwood Avenue in front of the Burchfield Penney for a community street party, At sunset (approximately 6:28 pm), witness the trio of projection towers turned on on forever.

The Towers

The Front Yard features the architectural addition of three 24-foot steel and glass-clad towers, each housing a 7500-lumen Christie DWU775-E WUXGA DLP projector. Details of paintings by Charles Burchfield from the Center’s collection: Moth and the Thunderclap (1961), Wind-blown Asters (1951) and Oncoming Spring (1954) are etched onto the stainless steel cladding of the sculptured units. The towers were designed by Isabella Brito under the direction of Brad Wales, RA as part of Small Built Works at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning.


Once again I have conceived a wonderful thing… (, which caused me to thrill almost as greatly as the memorable evening of June 14, -) On my way to work I suddenly conceived the idea of composing rhythms + colors, not pictorially but abstractly, so as to suggest ideas.  Having a psychological basis, it would appeal to even the untutored mind, + at the same time give the highest aesthetic enjoyment in the most cultured mind. With the proper instrument, these designs can be thrown upon a screen to a large audience who could watch and receive the same sensations as one listening to notes.

Charles Burchfield, September 2, 1915

Highlights from the Street Party

A Special Thanks


LPCiminelli, Inc. / Rigidized Metals Corporation / Buffalo State Communication Department / University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning

The Joy Legacy Foundation and Paula Joy & John Reinhold / Margaret L. Wendt Foundation / James & Joy Brandys / Gary & Willow Brost / Vogt Family Foundation / Buffalo Structural Steel Construction Corporation / Peter & Ilene Fleischmann / Mike Pratt, P.E. / Watts Architecture and Engineering / David & Jessica Brason / First Niagara Bank / Will Kelly / Cindy Abbott Letro & Francis M. Letro / Premier Wine & Spirits / Peter Vukelic

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