May//June 2024 Buffalo HOME Magazine

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LOVING WHERE WE LIVE MAy//June 2024 | THEHOMEPUBLICATIONS.COM pg. 9 your dream garden planned by the Gardenette garden + gardenblooms + blooms GET IN NATURE WITH MARCUS ROSTEN pg. 36 CROWN HILL IS GROWING SEEDS OF FLAVOR pg. 41 buffalohome spotlight: east aurora pg. 24

Getting Out in Nature With Marcus Rosten

Poetry, music, and visual art converge right in the silos at Silo City

One of Buffalo’s talented muralists focuses on nature and community


Missy Singer Dumars gives us a tour of her farm, animals, plants, and events

Red Disk shares their exclusive wallpaper design for the Roswell Community Center

4 MAY//JUNE 2024 | Buffalo buffalohome contents GRAIN
56 ON THE COVER Growing
with Gardenette: Nora Saintz

Structural Repairs & Roofs • Patio Overhangs WE


from the home team



Sun’s’ out, Fun’s Out!

The birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and everyone is embracing the start of the warmer season. And I am excited for all the wonderful events that come along with the nice weather.

Whether you’re heading out to a festival, looking to explore our beautiful outdoors, or craving a sweet treat, Buffalo has so much to love!

There is a festival for just about everything and me and my family enjoy going to as many as we can. Our favorite is the Red, White & Blue Balloon Festival at Letchworth State Park on Memorial Day Weekend.

In the spring and summer months I love to enjoy a Moscow Mule and the best one I have ever had would have to be from Remington Tavern at 184 Sweeney St. in North Tonawanda. Overlooking the

scenic Erie Canal, the Remington Tavern has mastered the cocktail game! When you go, ask for the “Canal Side Mule” – it’s a refreshing twist on the classic Moscow Mule because it’s made with a splash of locally sourced apple cider. It’s delicious!

My kids and I make a summer bucket list every year and it helps us make the most of our days! There are a few things we do every year as well as new adventures that we have been waiting to try. Both Buffalo and Rochester have so much to offer! We never make it 100% of the way through our bucket list but having the list of goto activities is great.

It isn’t summer without a couple nights of camping and this year we booked one of the family cabins at Trout Run Camp Resort in Wellsville. We are most excited about river tubing there! We could spend all day out by the water. I am determined to go kayaking this year. I have only done it once, so I really want to go for a daylong paddle! Also, fishing is one of our best loved activities in the summer.

Sunday brunch with family and friends is something we enjoy as well. I think the best spots in Buffalo would have to be Jazzboline, Falley Allen, Betty’s, Alchemy Wine & Beer, Buffalo Kitchen Club, Café Postscripts and Jacks Corner Café.

There is not a shortage of places to find music in Western New York and I’m ready to rock out at the Taste of Country June 21st at Sahlen Field in Downtown Buffalo–it’s always the best way to kick off the summer!

I hope I inspired you to make the most of your summer, I know I will! And, of course, don’t forget to support local & shop local!


Do you love WNY? Join us as a freelance writer to create inspirational, uplifting content about the cities we love. Email a cover letter and two writing samples to our content manager at:


moscow mule

Sipping on a Moscow Mule from Remington Tavern is like indulging in pure bliss in every sip.

balloons over letchworth

As colorful hot air balloons fill the sky, they create such a stunning backdrop against the incredible scenery of Letchworth State Park.


“Brunch: where good food meets good company. A reminder to slow down and enjoy the sweetness of life.”

6 MAY//JUNE 2024 | Buffalo








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Growing with

custom garden design. There’s something rather special about creating a garden at home. From the first buds of spring to the reds and golds of autumn, a garden is an important extension of one’s home. Like most things worthwhile, they require care, planning, dedication, and according to Nora Saintz, a willingness to try something new.

Nora is the owner of Gardenette, a personalized landscape design company that gives homeowners a new way to create their outdoor oasis. Gardenette offers custom garden designs for those who want to improve their landscaping but are not sure where to start. With on-site consultations available in Western NY and virtual consultations in most areas across the country (Gardenette has clients in over 28 states), Nora and her team work closely with each homeowner to design a layout that makes each garden feel like a peaceful retreat.

a learning process. “No one knows everything about gardening,” Nora clarifies. That being said, she certainly knows a lot. Before starting Gardenette in late 2019, Nora graduated with a Certificate in Landscape Design from Cornell University and is a Certified Nursery and Landscape Professional. She is a wealth of knowledge and can design down to Growing Zone 8, which is home to states like the Carolinas and Georgia.

There are obvious differences between a garden design in Western New York and somewhere outside of Atlanta, GA, but Nora points out that there may also be significant differences between your garden and your neighbor’s. “People have to be really honest with themselves,” says Nora.

From soil to sunlight to the neighborhood deer that seem ever present, Nora considers every garden design project unique with its own specific rulebook for success. Fortunately, Nora creates that rulebook for you.

“We have very little gardening experience - and Nora was able to tell us a lot about what could/should be kept, relocated or removed.” - Kate C.

Buffalo | MAY//JUNE 2024 9 on the cover

garden with confidence. Nora started Gardenette so that anyone – whether a seasoned gardener or a novice with a shovel – can plant a home garden that will thrive in their space.

“My entire process is set up so clients can do the installation themselves, which they love because they save money and plant with confidence.”

For her customers in Western New York, Nora starts the design journey with a home visit. She gets to know each customers’ requirements and aspirations for their garden; she examines the soil and evaluates the space as a whole. Following the home visit, Nora designs a custom garden layout, taking everything discussed into consideration.

Within two weeks, she delivers the client with an extremely detailed design packet. Each packet contains a rendering of the garden with photos of the selected plants, shrubs, and trees superimposed onto the layout, allowing the customer to visualize the garden’s future. Nora also provides a scaled blueprint for ease of installation, an illustrated plant shopping guide that includes pictures of the plants, their varieties, size, and when they bloom, and a guide for installation and maintenance. That guide covers how to plant, how often to

water, and any specific pruning or maintenance instructions. With such specific plans and instructions, Gardenette designs are cost-effective, good for the environment, and importantly, attainable.

For clients living outside the Western New York region, Nora offers the same level of care and detail for garden design in a virtual setting. Her pricing is always based on the space size, which ensures consistency across the board for every client. Homeowners in any state can also go to her website,, to order a “Pick and Plant,” ready-made designs for front yards, fencing borders and even containers.

When asked what she feels most proud of in her business, Nora shares, “I believe I am bringing a really great design and landscape to people that probably wouldn’t have them otherwise, because there wasn’t an avenue to achieve that.”

planting kindness. In addition to offering custom designs for homeowners around the country, Nora and her team focus on a pro-bono project every year for businesses and organizations. Recently, she designed a very personalized, unique garden for the Ronald McDonald House in Buffalo. This year, she’s extending her reach to local bakeries and restaurants interested in beautifying their outdoor seating spaces.

Above all else, Nora loves creating opportunities for gardeners to get their hands a little dirty and create something beautiful that lasts. Her goal is to help each client’s vision become a reality. “I don’t sell plants or offer installations,” explains Nora. “My only motivation is my client’s success.” Certainly, with Gardenette, success in the garden is not far away.

10 MAY//JUNE 2024 | Buffalo 2 THEHOMEPUBLICATIONS.COM | Rochester

tips for success. With years of experience and education in landscape and design, Nora has come to appreciate that gardening is a process of trial and error. There are many factors and variables to consider, and it is okay to make mistakes. “No one has a 100% success rate, but you can do it. You just need the right plant for the right place,” she explains. In her view, gardening is an iterative process that requires making changes along the way.

Even though some mishaps are part of the process, Nora certainly has tips that are useful for any gardener. First, she believes it is important to be realistic about what’s going on in the yard. Factors like the amount of sunlight and the presence of deer greatly impact a garden’s day-to-day health. Next, consider putting native plants in the garden, as they have few pest problems and thrive with little care. If the goal is to attract honey bees and other pollinators, pick flowers like purple coneflowers and liatris.

Nora also recommends putting plants and flowers with the longest blooming periods in beds next to high-traffic areas. This way, you are greeted with vibrant blooms on a regular basis. Gardenette’s custom designs always include something that is blooming or will produce stunning foliage. Thanks to Nora’s choice in perennial recommendations only, the beauty that grows one season will reappear in a year’s time.

Two of Nora’s staples in her own garden are hardy geranium and coreopsis, both of which bloom from the end of spring all the way through the beginning of November. Hardy geranium and coreopsis are perennial, low maintenance, and deer proof. The bright purples and pinks of the hardy geraniums compliment the sunshine yellows and stunning reds of the coreopsis – a sight to behold for months out of the year.

Buffalo | MAY//JUNE 2024 11
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Grain & V




For over 45 years, the Just Buffalo Literary Center has brought the world’s most dynamic writers to Buffalo, hosting poetry events and readings, and supporting young writers’ development. “We believe in the love of reading, the art of writing, and the power of the literary arts to transform individual lives and communities.” The Just Buffalo Literary Center fosters a vibrant cultural scene, an important regional asset, and is becoming one of the nation’s top literary centers.

Curating Just Buffalo is Noah Falck. Falck moved to Buffalo in 2012 after teaching elementary school in Dayton, Ohio for ten years. He worked as Education Director at Just Buffalo Literary Center until 2023, when he shifted to the Literary Director position, working with schools, cultural partners, writers, artists, teachers, and administrators to bring creative writing and literature into schools and the community.

Falck says, “Poetry is a record of our best uses of language. Poems are empathy machines; they have the ability to stop time and open up new realizations in the self and the world. They can give us hope and give us pause. And I think the world would be a better place if we took the time to engage with poetry on a more regular basis, both individually and as a community.”

In 2013, he started the Silo City Reading Series, a multidisciplinary poetry series that includes musical acts and visual art installations, bringing together the best of Buffalo’s arts and cultural community to interact with some of the most dynamic poets from Buffalo and beyond in the historic grain silos known as Silo City at the edge of the Buffalo River.

With the 12th season of the series in 2024, Falck reflects:

Why the silos?

The first time we went to the silos back in the fall of 2012, shortly after we moved to Buffalo, it felt like we were walking inside a poem with all the histories and mysteries echoing around us. It felt like the beginning and end of the earth. When we left it was impossible to not imagine the possibilities of the silos, both as a natural space for poetry & performance, but also as a symbol of hope and transformation. When my friend, Joe Hall, reached out the following month asking if I knew of any places to hold a book release party — I could only think of the silos. That’s how we landed there.

What is your inspiration?

So much inspires me and gives me hope. The poems, the poets, the music, the art, the echoes, the energy, the light on the silos during the golden hour of the day. The opportunity to engage our community with the minds and language of our most cherished living poets. The chance to lift up and celebrate the local talent that live and work in our city. The untapped potential of Buffalo acts as a sort of fuel.

How do you select your readers?

We have a notebook full of poets we add to frequently. Poets we admire to no end [and] poets who seem like they would be a perfect fit for the silos. Poets who open up new worlds. We also have poets contacting us regularly who want to read in the grain silos, and we consider those poets too. Each summer we hope to invite a variety of voices into the silos, voices that are addressing and investigating the contemporary movement, [and] voices that will help us see ourselves differently.

What are your goals with this series and your role?

The goal of the series has been to try to create an experience at a poetry reading that will change how people think about or consider the artform. We want to keep evolving, growing, and adapting with the site, and ultimately raise an awareness that Buffalo is and always has been a place for poetry.

Hanif Abdurraqib by Nancy J. Parisi

Just Buffalo Literary Center will be celebrating its 50th year in 2025, and the work that has come out of the organization since the beginning, in my opinion, is nothing short of remarkable. The work is driven by the mission of creating time and space where individuals and communities can have transformative experiences with literature and language. Just Buffalo creates multiple access points where people can find this, from (to name a few) the renowned BABEL lecture series, to the free after school Writing Center for teenagers, through in-school writer residencies, or inside a grain silo in the middle of summer. "As Literary Director, I want to continue to support these programs and initiatives in the years ahead and listen and work to cultivate a sense of wonder and appreciation for literature in our community and beyond," Falck says.

Celebrate and experience the rich literary and artistic culture within Buffalo. Check out for more writing workshops, presentations, youth fellowships, and a wide array of arts and cultural opportunities.

2024 Silo City Reading Series

June 15: Poet Fred Moten, and poet/translator/aerialist Christina Vega-Westhoff, New Yorkbased improvisation musician Brandon Lopez, and Buffalo painter, Bree Gilliam.

July 27: Poets Michael McGriff and Cindy Juyoung Ok, Austin-based regret pop band Sun June, and visual storyteller Ariel Aberg-Riger.

August 29: Poet Megan Fernandes performs with the yet-to-be-announced winner of the 2024 Just Buffalo Poetry Fellowship, musical performance by DJ B-Cutz & flutist Dayatra Amber, and a choreographed roller skating and visual installation curated by Barrett Gordon.

Nicole Sealey by Nancy J. Parisi Jericho Brown by Pat Cray Solmaz Sharif reading at June 10, 2023 Silo City Reading Series by Pat Cray Wild Pink performing at the July 22, 2023 Silo City Reading Series by Pat Cray

self care

Buffalo | MAY//JUNE 2024 17
pg. 18 Setting Sail With the Buffalo Community Boathouse pg. 23 Sweet Buffalo Shares Lucas’s Story






Diana Augspurger is the kind of person you can share what’s on your mind with over a cup of coffee. You immediately develop a sense of trust in her as you talk. She speaks with simple truthfulness that inspires trust, and it starts with statements like this:

“There is something magical about figuring out how to make that boat move through the water just by using the wind.”

“What can I do for kids that is going to be transformational? This is it - it just happens to be wrapped up in fun!”

“That is why this sport is so fantastic for relaxation, because you literally cannot think of anything else while you are in the midst of it; it completely unchecks your brain.”

Here, Diana describes her passion for sailing. With experiences as a nurse, holding a captain’s license, and previously serving as a Commodore, Diana is now Program Director of the Buffalo Harbor Sailing Club. She is part of a six-person Board of Directors that helps provide sailing programs for underserved groups: youth ages 11-15 and veterans. The Buffalo Community Boathouse is a non-profit organization

that fills the void for sailing in Buffalo. Diana is the “people connector” of the group. Other volunteers provide a range of services, from sailing instruction to boat repair and ground maintenance to coordinating donations and logistics.

Although Diana always had an interest in sailing, with a brief exposure at age seventeen, she is a late bloomer. When her kids were young, she thought it would be fun to take classes together and learn, but she was the only one bitten by the bug! Years later, in 2013, she started a program through the Buffalo Harbor Sailing Club called

Discover Buffalo Sailing, an introductory sailing course to develop comfort aboard a sailing boat. Through this program, and her eventual path to instructing, Diana saw the impact sailing has on people, with conversational stories of adventure after long weekends on the water as well as the sense of pride and accomplishment. For such reasons, Diana decided to help establish the community boathouse.


The Buffalo Community Boathouse is in its third year of operation. Finding suitable property where the docks could withstand weather was a challenge. But after years of determination, the Buffalo Community Boathouse found its home a little beyond Gallagher Beach at 1515 Fuhrmann Blvd, at the Seven Seas South End Marina.

Through donations and grants, the Boathouse provides free sailing programs to youth and veterans. The youth program, ‘Say Yes, It's Sailing,’ has provided instruction to 30-40 students from July through mid-August. The program focuses on youth who would otherwise not be exposed to sailing. After a “comfort test” to help gauge a student’s sensitivity around water, students go out with instructors (many of whom are U.S. Sailing certified) to learn about sailing as well as local geography.

Many youth are unaware that they even live beside a lake! Buffalo is located at the eastern end of Lake Erie, the shallowest and warmest of the Great Lakes. Diana says, “Situational awareness, physics, accountability, leadership, resilience – it’s all built into this little sailing program.” The Boathouse works with local partners such as Ladders to the Outdoors, which provides transportation from community facilities to the Boathouse, as well as the local YMCA that offers the comfort test. This test requires students to swim 20 yards in a life jacket so they know they won't sink if a boat flips.

Sailing is not as popular as other publicized sports, and most kids’ sports are team sports. But as Diana points out, you aren’t fighting against Mother Nature in those team sports. The challenge in sailing is that spectators can’t fully watch the race unfold. Yet it’s an immersive sport; in order to get from Point A to Point B, a person needs to make thousands of decisions within seconds while the water, the boat, and the wind all move.

Focusing on the task at hand provides organic healing that is especially beneficial to veterans. Studies have shown that activity-based therapies such as sailing provide individuals—specifically service members—the opportunity to exercise, socialize, and engage with the natural environment while attaining relief from their psychological symptoms.

Of all the hats Diana has worn, she may be most proud to be an ex-military wife. She has a special place in her heart for her ‘vets.’ Being able to deliver the 'Veterans Afloat' program and a place for veterans to convene is important. Registration for the sailing program is free, and veterans can go out on the six person sails (plus one skipper and crew member) as many times as they’d like. Special equipment is not required and life jackets are available. All that is needed is proof of service and for the individual to be nimble enough to be on a boat. An Adaptive Water Sports program is also available for veterans with access challenges. Boats launch beginning the week of May 20th and the season runs through the second week of September.

For more information, to donate, or to get involved with the Buffalo Community Boathouse, visit


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Twenty-year-old Lucas of Akron has been diagnosed with cancer a third time. This time it’s a bone cancer called chondroblastic osteosarcoma, which is very painful.

Lucas will have high dose chemo and radiation, then at some point the plan is to remove the cancer from his leg, pelvis and hip. We are told he says he’s ready to fight again and his family will fight right alongside him.

Lucas is now in a wheelchair due to the very large tumor in his pelvis, groin and femur.

Lucas and his family began this fight when Lucas was just 7 years old in January 2011. He went into remission but was then diagnosed again with the same cancer. He beat it again and was cancer-free for eight years. He went to prom, graduated high school, got his permit and had a job, but all of that changed when he started to feel unwell again.

Please consider even sharing your daily $5 for coffee towards Lucas and his family. Please share this all over to help give this family, who have already gone through so much over the years, the support they need and will continue to need during and after treatment to help Lucas beat cancer again.

You can donate to help Lucas here:

Our friends at Basil Toyota and Basil Volkswagen wanted to help Lucas so they shared on the Sweet Buffalo segment on News 4 Buffalo that they will be paying six months of mortgage payments for his family.

Now they are encouraging other dealerships across Western New York and the public to help Lucas in his fight.

Buffalo | MAY//JUNE 2024 23 “Just Great Feels!” stories, visit: SWEETBUFFALO716.COM FB + IG @SweetBuffalo716 TikTok @SweetBuffaloToTheRescue

East Aurora


Incorporated in 1874, the village has been a hub of commerce and home to notable figures such as U.S. President Millard Fillmore and renowned writer, philosopher, and founder of the Roycroft movement, Elbert Hubbard, and the birthplace of Fisher-Price Toys. Many of the buildings on Main Street have been carefully preserved and house various local businesses and attractions, allowing visitors and residents alike to step back in time.


East Aurora features an array of artists and musicians, with galleries and studios abound. Every year, the art scene comes alive with events and festivals to showcase everything from the arts to music and food, including the Roycroft Summer Festival and the East Aurora Art Walk. And don’t miss the East Aurora Music Festival, a day-long event with live performances by local bands and musicians throughout the village.


The Roycroft Campus stands as a testament to the legacy of Elbert Hubbard and the Roycroft Arts & Crafts movement, founded in 1895. “Roycrofters,” as they were called, were craftspeople and artisans dedicated to the arts. Many of the original structures of the Campus are still standing, including the Roycroft Inn, where visitors can stay and dine, and the Print Shop, where traditional print techniques continue to this day. The Campus also regularly hosts events, workshops, and tours, offering a glimpse in to East Aurora’s vibrant artistic heritage.

Just southeast of Buffalo lies the quaint village of East Aurora, teeming with art, history, and unique boutiques and events perfect for a picturesque day in Western New York. From lush parks to delectable dining, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this charming community!

Shop the co-op for delicious hot or chilled grab n’ go meals, local and wholesome groceries, tempting house-made baked goods, fresh produce & more. If you’re looking for a quick, satisfying meal, you’re in the right place!


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Open to
591 Main Street, East Aurora • Open Daily:
Buffalo | MAY//JUNE 2024 25 Open 5 days a week! Wednesday-Sunday 10am-8pm ph: 716-655-7500 New vendors and items every week!


East Aurora’s performing arts thrives with the Aurora Players, a community theater group dedicated to showcasing the talents of local actors and directors, while bringing quality theatrical productions to life and enriching the cultural fabric of East Aurora.


No trip is complete without a bite to eat! From upscale steakhouses to cozy bistros, East Aurora has an eatery to satisfy any palate. Start your visit off with a hearty breakfast at Elm Street Bakery, known for its artisanal breads, pastries, and farm-to-table fare. In the summer, take a walk through the East Aurora Farmers Market, the perfect spot to pick up fresh produce, artisanal goods, and homemade treats. On Main Street, head to the East Aurora Co-Op, a community-owned grocery store featuring local, organic, and seasonal produce!



Who doesn’t enjoy a day outside? Take a stroll through the historic Knox Farm State Park, a former country estate and now sprawling meadows, forests, and ponds open for exploration. It’s a prime spot for picnics, nature walks, and birdwatching. For those seeking more physical activity, Hamlin Park offers something for all ages, with athletic fields, tennis courts, and playgrounds.

26 MAY//JUNE 2024 | Buffalo
535 Main Street, East Aurora, NY 14052
Buffalo | MAY//JUNE 2024 27 Cristin Kramer LICENSED ESTHETICIAN Book your app ointment 716.998.9355 411 Main Street, East Aurora @cristinkramerle LET US HELP YOU FEEL beautiful! Hydro Facials | Dermaplaning Microdermabrasion & More We want you to leave your treatment with glowing, healthy, fresh skin but it is also very important to us that you leave feeling relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated as well! New, Discounted & Pre-Read Books Extensive Metaphysical Area General Gifts & Novelties The Bo�kworm & BW Gifts 34 Elm Street, East Aurora • 716-652-6554 - Discover New WorldsEAST AURORA


Round out a day in East Aurora with delights and local goods you won’t find anywhere else. With charming boutiques and shops, each offers its own unique selection. More than a shopping experience, Rustic Buffalo is a destination with hundreds of handmade artisan items from Buffawix Candle Co. to The Buffalo Basics Apparel Collection

Spend an afternoon exploring the East Aurora Antique Mall, open five days a week with something for everyone, offering everything from antiques to farmhouse décor and more! The Bookworm & BW Gifts is an independent bookstore carrying new and bestsellers, remaindered books, and a book exchange program. Treat yourself to one of their multitude of books and fun gifts, and wind down your afternoon with some relaxation and rejuvenation with an Express Facial or Full Body Salt Scrub by esthetician Cristin Kramer!

Johnson’s Nursery is an eclectic 6½ acre wonderland of specialty and traditional plants, rare specimens, and unique garden finds! We offer a wide variety of garden décor including garden statuary, fountains, bird baths, pottery, lights, sculptures, furniture, giftware, seasonal décor, artwork, one-of-a-kind rockery, bonsai, and houseplants. Johnson’s Nursery also provides landscaping services including foundation and border plantings, cleanups and tree installation, flagstone patios, and stone walls.

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28 MAY//JUNE 2024 | Buffalo
EAST AURORA • NORTH TONAWANDA • WILLIAMSVILLE open year-round, 7 days a week! It’s always a beautiful day for shopping! “Buffalo Bills store destination of wny” Download our app app store Google Play EAST AURORA


meet Emma Brittain

Join us as we chat with Emma Brittain, a talented muralist whose work beautifully blends human experiences with the wonders of nature. From the joyful depiction of river otters to the ambitious project of crafting interactive parade puppets, Emma's art not only sparks wonder but also inspires action and connection within her community.

Q . What draws you to the theme of relationships between humans and the natural world for your art?

A. Recently, my work shifted from a more critical lens of human failures to protect our environment to a focus more on joy and belonging in the natural world. I’ve decided that love is a better starting place for my art. I’ve always found solace and wonder in nature. I’ve seen connections between my life experiences and what I see happening around me. Other times I’m brought away from my own thinking by nature. One time I was very frustrated, and I took a walk in the woods and saw a large bear track in some mud. Suddenly, standing where a bear had trod made my other thoughts silence and my wonder at the world around me bloom.

Art can foster a deeper connection to our environment. Through art I share my own view, experience, and love of nature. For example, I've lovingly made

a lot of pottery with salamanders on it. The viewer interprets it, either relating or remembering something they already know, or perhaps they think “I’ve never seen that before.” Hopefully from there they search it for themselves and find what it means to them. Maybe they search for that certain type of salamander or just the feeling I evoked representing it. People have seen pieces and tell me about their memories as a kid playing in a creek or ask, “Do we really have creatures that look like this around here?” I think interaction with nature-based art boosts interest in seeing and protecting the environment around us.

Hopeful Currents at Red Jacket River Front Park

Q . Anything in particular you keep in mind in your art-making process?

A. “Try everything!” I think being open to learning from different media is important. I’ve never been an abstract painter, but I recently did some freestyle quilting, which involved a similar process of piecing together colors and shapes. I see it as all connected; every form of creativity can lend itself to another. Through color play with quilts, I can use color more creatively in my other projects now. I may even try some abstract painting now!

Q . What future projects or themes are you excited to explore?

A. This month (May) I start my sixmonth residency with Hunt Gallery in downtown Buffalo, so I am very excited for the time and space to create a body of work there. I have some themes I lean towards, but my work typically evolves from creating and creating more iterations of an idea, so I am not sure of the exact trajectory yet.

Q . We adore your "Hopeful Currents" mural! What’s some of the inspiration behind it?

A. In August 2023, I painted a mural over 125 feet long for Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper. The mural is a larger than life, vibrant depiction of two river otters and a school of bluegills. I chose to incorporate the species to celebrate local conservation wins. I had an amazing encounter with an otter in the nearby Tifft Nature Preserve. Otters had been absent in our area for some time, but through conservation efforts in the '90s, we’re starting to see their return. The otter I saw was the first confirmed sighting at Tifft, and a whole family of them was spotted later. This is counter to typical news about the environment; we all know things are dire but fewer people know about the small wins that happen. My mural is meant to bring joy and awareness of the conservation wins in our area. If we only focus on the bad, we can be scared into hopelessness and inaction. By acknowledging the good things happening in spite of the bad, we keep hope alive!

Q . Buffalo's local ecology seems to often show through in your projects. What are some things you particularly love?

A. I love that Buffalo and Western NY in general are full of small conservation miracles. Similarly to my otter sightings, there have been recent sightings of the Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle, which had not been seen in over 30 years in Ellicott Creek. These are creatures most people have not even heard of, so I like to depict them in my art to raise awareness.

Q . Are there any artists, past or present, who have had a significant influence on your work? Probably too many to count!

A. I had so many great art teachers from elementary through college. There was even an art teacher who owned a small business next to my mom’s shop who would encourage me outside school hours! Now I teach and hope to provide the same support to my own students.

30 MAY//JUNE 2024 | Buffalo

Q . Are there any hidden gems or lesser-known areas in Buffalo and the surrounding area that are great locations for future mural projects?

A. I think as certain areas are being reclaimed for recreation and public enjoyment such as the Riverline Project and the 33 Expressway Park, there will be new and fresh places in need of public art, and I hope to be considered for those!

Q . Where do you go for fresh inspiration?

A. Most often I go to a nature preserve, but I also love to take inspiration trips when I can. I recently visited the historic Black quilting community in Gee’s Bend, Alabama and some Civil Rights spots in that area. I visited a plantation museum with merchandise in the gift shop that said “I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams,” and I’m really motivated by that idea. My ancestors endured a lot in the hope that future generations would have a better world, and we must continue to work towards that.

Q . If you could paint a mural anywhere in the world, where would it be and what would the theme be?

A. In college, I studied abroad in Tanzania and I’d love to go back and do some big artwork with the community in that area. There is so much beauty to highlight, I think the theme would probably be something about ujima, the beauty of working together.

Q . Describe your perfect day in Buffalo.

A. A morning walk at Tifft, a waffle at Fitz Books, some time in the studio, lunch at the BreadHive, teaching an afternoon class at Locust Street Art, dinner and drinks at Mint Mojito.

I think all we have to offer the world is our authentic selves. Even when I create pieces that are meant for the community to enjoy, it all stems from my own self-expression. I hope sharing pieces of myself inspires other people to share things of themselves as well.
32 MAY//JUNE 2024 | Buffalo
Buffalo | MAY//JUNE 2024 33


34 MAY//JUNE 2024 | Buffalo
pg. 36 Getting Out in Nature With Marcus Rosten
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As spring comes in full bloom, so does the opportunity to get outdoors, enjoy nature, and explore some of the best nature’s creatures have to offer. The Western New York Wildway at the WNY Land Conservancy in East Aurora is a conservation initiative to protect and connect the region's largest remaining forests.

36 MAY//JUNE 2024 | Buffalo BUF
• • • instagram @mrosten

WNY Wildway’s Director and Buffalo native, Marcus Rosten, explains that by creating a network of protected lands and corridors across the area, “The WNY Wildway will allow plants and animals to roam across the land as they once did, to move as climate changes, and to expand their ranges and ensure their survival. We are working to build public support to build the Wildway so that our region can be more climateresilient and more connected for wildlife.”

Protecting wildlife habitats is beneficial for people as well, as it helps protect our clean air and water, stores carbon, and reduces wildlife / vehicle collisions. Rosten says, “Connected landscapes can even help reduce ticks, since [tick] population boom[s] and in turn the prevalence of Lyme Disease increases in a fragmented forest. Intact wildlife habitats support a healthy population of wildlife, which, in the case of the opossum, who loves to eat ticks, can help be a check and reduce other species whose overabundance has a detrimental effect on overall ecosystem health.”

Rosten is also an avid ornithologist and serves on the board for the Buffalo Ornithological Society, observing and learning about birds across the area. For Rosten, the chance encounters and discoveries he finds when walking among nature is what he loves about birding. “All it takes is a trip to your favorite nature space and a pair of binoculars for you to be able to make a scientific discovery,” he says.

As a Buffalo native, Rosten says one of the places where he fell in love with nature was at Allegany State Park. Many summers spent camping in those green cabins are what inspired him to go to SUNY ESF, and since graduating in 2015, he has served as an interpretive park ranger in national parks and forests, led environmental education and stewardship programs with nonprofit organizations, and worked as a fish and wildlife technician, conducting wildlife surveys and managing habitats for state and federal agencies.


Most Unique Find While Birding

Rosten says that while filming the Black-crowned Nightheron nesting in the understory for the Niagara Falls episode of PBS Nature, he suddenly noticed one of the herons did not look like the others. After initial shock, he realized it was a cousin of the herons intended to be observed — a Yellowcrowned Night-heron, a rare bird for the region.

This discovery was pivotal because previously recorded breeding grounds for the Yellow-Crowned Night-heron were only on Long Island and the Hudson Valley, so this was novel.

Craziest Nature Encounter

In September 2023 when hiking in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State, Rosten says, “As we approached the subalpine zone of the mountain, a wolverine came out of nowhere and crossed the trail fifty feet in front of us. It was heart-stopping and slightly terrifying to see the apex predator up close and personal, and extremely lucky because they are [known] as one of the most elusive carnivores in the country.”


Birding can be as simple as noticing and listening to the birds that visit around your home, or it can be as extreme as standing at the base of Niagara Falls in February with ice on your eyelids, dissecting the minute differences between gulls flying in the mist.

To better identify birds, Rosten says, “the best way to learn the rare birds is to learn the common ones upside down and backwards.”


According to Rosten, some of the best places for birdwatching include Stella Niagara Preserve on the lower Niagara River. Managed by the Land Conservancy, the preserve is one of the only natural landings in the gorge. He says, “In just a short walk through a wildflower meadow full of sparrows and hawks, you can get to the river’s edge and see gulls and ducks. There is also a natural kayak launch that makes for a great stop while paddling the lower river.” Other places he suggests are the Allegany Wildlands, Mossy Point, and College Lodge.


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40 MAY//JUNE 2024 | Buffalo
pg. 41 Sowing Seeds of Flavor With Missy Singer Dumars at Crown Hill Farm pg. 56 Red Disk is Honoring History Through Art

sowing seeds of flavor


Shoppingat local grocery stores or markets, we have increasing options for conventional and organic produce. However, heirloom vegetables remain elusive to the public. Grown from seeds saved each year, heirlooms are usually open pollinated and will look exactly as their parent plant did, often tracing their heritage back hundreds of years. They also have superior taste!

To Missy Singer Dumars, visionary behind the 13-acre Crown Hill Farm, just south of Buffalo, heirlooms are food that is “fun to cook, fun to eat, or interesting on a plate.” Missy remembers pulling a carrot out of the garden, hosing it off and biting into it, never having tasted a vegetable like it before. As she describes it, the food is still alive, and the flavor has not yet begun to fade.

Owning or operating a farm was never on Missy’s radar. Growing up with a three-generation furniture retail business, she attended college for rabbinical studies and television production, dabbled in project management in Las Vegas, massage therapy in Hawaii, and then business consulting in Colorado. Through her myriad West coast experiences, Missy developed a close connection to the land, discovering farm stands and farm markets, starting to understand and appreciate where food comes from and becoming interested in holistic, conscientious living.

42 MAY//JUNE 2024 | Buffalo

Living in the high desert of Colorado where water rights posed a challenge, Missy and her husband at the time decided to seek a house with land to pursue their dreams of deepening their relationship with food. An urban farmer friend in Toronto helped turn their focus to the northeast where organic was an up-and-coming market, offered affordable properties, a temperature similar to Colorado, and water in ample supply.

Crown Hill Farm in Eden piqued their interest. The pair arrived during the corn festival weekend in August and in just a few days, while exploring the countryside, the Buffalo music scene, and attending farm-to-table restaurants, they were ready to make an offer. Soon they were pulling up the driveway through the fall foliage on Halloween day after a cross-country drive from Colorado.

Over the past few years, building her own community, Missy says she has leaned on the farm for healing, saying, “I cried a lot of tears into the soil, I cried lots of anger into the soil, lots of joy into the soil, [and] lots of gratefulness and gratitude.”

Missy has embraced the bigger vision of the farm as a destination for tours and educational events, allowing people to access food diversity and connect with the land. She is committed to letting the place reveal the vision to her.

Buffalo | MAY//JUNE 2024 43 FOR THE HOME

crown hill farm highlights

. It’s a no-till farm, with no large machinery except a lawn mower tractor she uses to pull around a cart. All vegetables are hand-tended.

. Growing heirloom vegetables takes time! The first season of a new vegetable starts with a small patch and the second year yields enough to sell. It’s a process observing how plants grow.

. Missy collaborates with bakers and chefs to use edible flowers in their recipes.

. Missy hosts interns from Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms who learn about seed selection, gardening, and garden planning. Missy herself is self-taught, asking lots of questions as she goes, and attending mentorship programs for animals and Cornell classes. In turn, she shares that love of learning with others.

. Other specialty products from her farm include soy-free pasture-raised eggs and natural dye yarns. Her livestock includes chickens, ducks, and geese as well as a flock of seven sheep. Missy sends the fleece to a small fiber mill in Pennsylvania where it is spun into yarn. Last year she had 9 fleeces yield 140 skeins of mixed weight and size yarn. She then hand-dyes the yarn with natural plant materials from around the farm, such as marigold, onion skins, and other flowers and plants. Missy also forages goldenrod and walnuts and uses fruit bark given to her by friends and avocado pits from cafés.

Relationship-based business drives Missy’s enterprise, collaborating with local chefs with full creative permission at the farm-to-table dinners held at Crown Hill Farm, and working with restaurants for wholesale of her unique food products. She believes in cutting to order, focusing on chefs, restaurants, and CSAs.

. Relationship awareness also fostered her partnership in the Women in Food Festival; the event brings together women of various food backgrounds, which began with in-person dinners, turning into an online cooking class due to COVID. After 2020, Missy continued the concept with The Women in Food podcast.

love it? we do!

Check out the farm-to-table dinners at Crown Hill Farm running every weekend from June 30th through part of August. What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than eating spectacularly prepared food set with antique dishware on a well-loved farmstead overlooking Lake Erie!

Attend the Women in Food Festival on June 23 for demonstrations, classes, samples, and tastings.

Look for Missy at the Erie County Fair in August.

For more information on Crown Hill Farm, visit or follow them on IG at @crownhillfarmny.

44 MAY//JUNE 2024 | Buffalo
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Retelling Stories of Our Past, One Pattern at A Time

Art has been known for centuries as a way to preserve cultures and serve as a collective memory of society. It can influence people in a way that words alone cannot and stamps an impression in our minds that carries a thread from the past into the future. This sentiment so perfectly sums up the shared experience of a recent collaboration between world-renowned cancer research and treatment center, Roswell Park, and local wallpaper company, Red Disk.

Roswell sought to build a new Community Engagement & Outreach Center focused on improving health outcomes through cancer awareness and education. Roswell Park’s plan for the center, located at 907 Michigan Avenue, was to preserve and expand upon the original structure — a 1,300 sq. ft. home built in 1878. Inspired by the possibilities of creatively reusing the original structure, Roswell Park chose to preserve the home and expand upon it to create this new community space.

Familiar with the wallpaper company’s work, Roswell Park enlisted Red Disk to fulfill its vision for a custom design that honored the neighborhood’s past and celebrated its historic Black culture. Working with the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor, Roswell Park identified eight culturally significant sites to be featured — and the Red Disk team went to work. The result was a special-edition design that highlighted key historical sites through custom illustrations by Buffalo artist Karen Matchette. The exclusive design was then handcrafted into wallpaper by the talented artisans at Red Disk to bring the story of historic Michigan Avenue into the future lives of all who are touched by the work of Roswell’s team.

56 MAY//JUNE 2024 | Buffalo
article by TRISH PINO photography by CAITLIN NEELAND

About Red Disk

Red Disk creates beautifully handcrafted artisan wallpapers silkscreened in micro runs in their Buffalo-based studio using local C2 paint. Founded in 2017 by Traci Ackerman, the team began by reimagining designs from renowned 20th century artist Charles Burchfield and have since added many other patterns that are both timeless and elegant such as the classic toile of Buffalo landmarks by Roycroft artisan, Karen Matchette, and the nature-inspired art of Cassandra Ott. They continue to collaborate with many local artists, creating designs that are fresh, innovative, and inspiring. To learn more about Red Disk, visit

Roswell Park commissioned Young + Wright Architectural to design a new, larger space, expanding both the physical footprint of the property and its sculptural significance. Inside, the handmade wallpaper flanks the building on both ends, beginning with the entrance lobby with its rich black and metallic gold colorway paired with wood doors, classic white subway tile, and penny round mosaic tile floors. On the opposite end of the building, a calming, sage green version of the paper graces the feature wall of the multi-purpose room whose A-frame structure boasts a vaulted ceiling and is a welcoming contrast to the modern design features and floor-to-ceiling windows on the opposite side of the room.

The work between Red Disk and Roswell is not only a unique story about intentional design and historic preservation, but also about the thread of history that art carries through time. The Roswell Park Community Engagement & Outreach group touches the lives of so many, tackling the never-ending work of raising awareness and increasing education about cancer and preventative screening. Purposeful design elements, such as the Red Disk wallpaper, tie a thread through the roots of the past – those who remember or were touched by the historic properties featured – to the aspirations of the future – those who will live on to make their mark in the world thanks to the work of the Roswell team. This welcoming space serves as a place where members of the community come together to do meaningful work, and there is no better way to honor that than featuring the sites where meaningful work happened in and around Michigan Avenue so many years ago.

In some ways, this project is a culmination of years of work done by the small but nimble team at Red Disk who have been artfully hand silk screening wallpaper since

– Peter Westbrook
Buffalo | MAY//JUNE 2024 57

2017. They specialize in bringing the work of local artists to this medium and are most known for their work recreating original designs from renowned artist, Charles Burchfield, in collaboration with the Burchfield Penney Art Center.

The designs are timeless, elegant patterns that span decades on a handcrafted, multi-layered piece that must be experienced in person to fully appreciate its beauty. It tells the story of the artist who created it, the person who uses it, and how they connect to the meaning behind it. A tactile experience, the wallpaper is beautiful to the touch and immersive in the way it transports viewers to another place and time.

The team at Red Disk saw an opportunity to help Roswell Park transcend the project into something culturally significant that complemented the new architectural design with century-old buildings sharing the historic culture of the area. While the special edition 907 Michigan Avenue wallpaper is not for sale, Red Disk’s full line of patterns is available on their website or through their trusted partners in the trade.

“Typically, walls divide spaces; they separate. But with the wallpapers we create, we hope to transform walls, to share stories that connect. That’s what’s so special about this collaboration with Roswell Park. The 907 Michigan wallpaper—and the

entire community center—is designed to bring people together.” — Red Disk

Wallpaper has risen in popularity in recent years due to its ability to transform a space so drastically and so has the craving for authentic, handmade pieces that stand the test of time and tell a story. Whether it’s the story of the inspiration behind a project or the connection someone has to a piece itself, we are all on a journey to leave our mark in the world. Red Disk and Roswell have done this so perfectly, creating a memorable and meaningful experience for all who enter, with stories that will transcend time as the future unfolds.

58 MAY//JUNE 2024 | Buffalo

907 Michigan Special Edition Wallpaper, celebrating Buffalo African American Heritage Landmarks—a collaboration between Roswell Park, illustrator Karen Matchette, and Red Disk. Red Disk Special Edition Wallpaper Features Key Landmarks from Buffalo’s African American History:

MICHIGAN STREET BAPTIST CHURCH At 511 Michigan Street, this was the first Black Church in Buffalo built by African Americans in 1845.

VINE STREET AFRICAN SCHOOL Founded by escaped slave Henry Moxley, the building at 17 Vine Street served as his barber shop as he became a successful entrepreneur and advocate to transform Buffalo’s segregated school system.

LITTLE HARLEM HOTEL Ann Montgomery Woodson turned the former ice cream building into a hotel/ club at 496 Michigan Avenue that hosted jazz musicians Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Bing Crosby, and many more.

MARY B. TALBERT HOUSE Founder of the National Association of Colored Women’s Club and advocate in the anti-lynching movement, Talbert worked with prestigious civil rights leaders to create the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

AME CHURCH Located at 17 Vine Street, this building was the original site for the Colored Methodist Society/ Church Bethel AME Church, sadly demolished in 1928.

BETHEL AME CHURCH At 1525 Michigan Avenue, this was where the oldest congregation of African descent organized in 1831.

DAN MONTGOMERY SALOON Husband of Anne Montgomery, Dan was a successful business owner who opened the saloon in 1907, and it served as an important meeting place for Black intellectuals and one of Buffalo’s best nightlife establishments.

MICHIGAN AVE YMCA Created in 1924, John Edmonton Brent was the 2nd African American in the country to design a “colored” YMCA, built as a home to help foster and give purpose to the Black community in WNY.

About Roswell Community Outreach & Engagement

The Roswell Community Outreach & Engagement group is a multidisciplinary team of cancer scientists and outreach specialists focused on reducing the risk of cancer in vulnerable communities. They build partnerships and deliver services to reduce the cancer burden among the people they serve with a focus on improved screening and community education. To learn more about their team and the expansive new center, visit community-outreach-engagement.

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