inside ub center for the arts atrium with murals on the walls.


September 16, 2021 – April 27, 2022
UB Center for the Arts Atrium

Free and open to the public

The City Talks to Itself

An exhibition of street art discovered across Buffalo, The City Talks to Itself pays homage to the origins of Buffalo’s mural movement and celebrates the independent artists and unsung heroes who devote their time, energy and materials to creating works for the entire city to enjoy. UB alumnus Josh Federice has created a massive collage for the UB Center for the Arts that features street art found across Buffalo, including highlights from the UB Arts Collaboratory’s Street Art Bike Tour this past August.

This spring, the Arts Collaboratory’s street art installation continues to evolve. Beloved Buffalo street artists Mickey Harmon and Johny Chow have added new works to the walls of the Center for the Arts atrium.  Mickey’s mural, City of No Illusions, is a tribute to our city, while Johny brings the radical vibe of Buffalo’s street art indoors with incisive commentaries on capitalism and corporate culture in his piece Chow Monstro:

Mickey Harmon, City of No Illusions, 2022 (Pen and Ink, Digital Illustration and Vinyl)
Muralists and street artists aren’t shy about showing their affection for the cities they call home. The title of local illustrator and artist Mickey Harmon’s City of No Illusions is a tip of the hat to renowned Buffalo artist, Michael Morgulis, and its subject is the town both artists love. City of No Illusions highlights the iconic architecture that makes Buffalo one of America’s most beautiful cities—and an ideal environment for art to flourish. Harmon’s mural is meant to encourage UB students (and all viewers) to set out to explore, bringing their own passions and creative energy to this remarkable place.

Johny Chow, Chow Monstro, 2022 (Digital and Vinyl)
Artists have always taken to the streets to question the status quo or fight for justice. Historically, the urban environment has been the one of the few places marginalized groups can broadcast a message to those who need to hear it. Today, all around the globe, social commentary shouts out from city walls, and the works of artists like JR, Blu and, yes, Banksy stop passersby in their tracks. This type of street art is often designed to be confrontational, unnerving and thought-provoking. It should force you to view the world from a different perspective. Chow Monstro, the work of Buffalo artist, musician and business owner Johny Chow, belongs to this long and vital tradition. His Mickey skulls can be spotted on the walls of Buffalo and countless other cities. If Chow Monstro leaves you feeling a bit rattled, stop here for a moment and ask yourself why.

Mickey and Johny will also join us this spring for the Art’s Collaboratory’s workshop How to Make a Living Making Art, where they’ll be joining an array of working painters, musicians, actors, writers and dancers to offer UB students’ insights and advice on making a living as an artist in Buffalo.

For more information about Buffalo’s street art scene, check out the UB Arts Collaboratory’s Buffalo Street Art Tour.