Village of Williamsville’s first large-scale mural will promote pollinators

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WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Village of Williamville is getting its first large-scale mural.

The rainbow backdrop of the mural is already up in the pocket park between Village Hall and the library on Main Street.

It will mirror the colorful, WNY-native, pollinator-friendly flowers and plants that inhabit the park’s garden, muralist Chris Piontkowski said.

“The idea is to bring awareness for the importance of pollinator-type insects,” Piontkowski said. “There are certain types of plants that those insects tend to gravitate toward- the same types of flowers you see along the garden here will be the same type of flowers going on the wall, at about 100 times their typical scale.”

Rendering of the completed mural

The project was commissioned in June by the Williamsville Beautification Committee, an organization of volunteers who plant and maintain the village’s four public gardens.

The funding was obtained through proceeds from the village’s Gardenwalk from 2012 to 2019, as well as donations from sponsors and individuals.

“When we got to 2019, we said “hmm, we have a nice little chuck of change here”,” said Deb Habes, chairman of the Williamsville Beautification Committee. “We thought wouldn’t it be great to have a mural here to liven up this space?”

The committee tapped Piontkowski for the project. He has created murals in Hertel Alley, along Elmwood Avenue, in Black Rock and in Eggertsville.

“I specialize in floral patterns and murals,” Piontkowski said. “A lot of other murals I do are similar concepts and similar ideas to bring awareness to pollinator insects.”

The mural is expected to be completed by the end of September, weather-permitting.

It’s already attracting plenty of attention from passersby and village residents.

“I think people are pleasantly surprised when they come down the path here,” Village of Williamsville mayor Deborah Rogers said. “It’s definitely a bright pop of color, and everyone that I’ve seen come by it really stops and takes notice.”

The mural is going up as people are spending more time than ever outside due to COVID-19, Mayor Rogers added.

“More people than ever are walking outdoors with their families and this project just enhances that public space,” Rogers said.

The “pocket park” where the mural is going up was once an asphalt driveway connecting to Main Street, Habes said.

“It had always been a very dangerous kind of driveway,” she said.

Habes said that former Williamsville mayor Brian Kulpa had the idea to rip up the asphalt and create a connecting pathway to the Main Street sidewalk and the parking lots and park behind the building.

“He invited a couple of members of the Beautification Committee to be involved in the planning of this space,” Habes said. “

The result is a courtyard flanked by gardens full of colorful flowers, a spot easily used by library patrons or anyone utilizing Main Street.

The Beautification Committee plans on planting pockets of Western New York-native, pollinator-friendly plants in the gardens next year, Habes added.

“All the plants that we do have attract butterflies and bumblebees- we want to be pollinator-friendly,” she said.

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