The Fight to Save The Rodney Taylor House Continues

Previous to the following letter to the editor the  The Community Watchdog submitted concern of this demolition of the communities beloved painter Rodney Taylor on the heels of his death.  

A former home of Black artist Rodney Taylor, Feb. 26, 1966 – Dec. 9, 2019, is slated to be demolished in plans by Sinatra and Ellicott development.   Buffalo born and bred Rodney Taylor was an internationally respected and recognized artist. His works are currently on view at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery@Northland. With his father and mother Phillip and Pearl Taylor, Rodney resided at 184 West Utica Street. Unfortunately, the City of Buffalo mindset of demolish and destroy says this late artist’s home is not worth anything.  An effective way to erase the accomplishments and talents of Black people is to destroy our physical presence of being, especially through destruction of our homes. Rest in peace Mr. Rodney Taylor. We are sorry that Buffalo seeks to erase where you once lived.

Feb 19th Challenger Issue featured the following letter to the editor:

Dear Editor:

Rodney Taylor, 1966-2019, departed this earth way too early. Home was an important concept to him and influenced his art.  Currently, the Albright Knox-Northland is exhibiting some of his works.  

What does 184 West Utica have to do with Mr. Taylor? From the Campaign for Greater Buffalo newsletter:

 “The house designed and built by Fruit Belt residents (the late 1890s early 1900 Germans) venturing out into the wider world came full circle in 2004, when another son of the Fruit Belt, artist Rodney Taylor, and his wife Annette  Daniels-Taylor, bought the house. Taylor had been out in the world and was coming home. Taylor’s parents lived two doors away at 176 West Utica, the same house they had bought when Urban Renewal and expressway building caused them to leave the Fruit Belt in 1974. His mother was a member of the church across the street.   Taylor died in December 2019, but not before he knew his work would be central to the first show installed at the Albright Knox-Northland art gallery, Open House: Domestic Thresholds. The show opened on January 17, 2020, the same day the demolition request for 184 West Utica Street was made public.”

So happy Black History Month folks! Buffalo plans to demolish the home of an internationally known and respected Black artist. For more information, please see:

 A rally to stop the demolition is planned for Sat Feb 22, 9 AM at the house.

-Tim Tielman

Tim Tielman is  Executive Director, Campaign for Greater Buffalo.