James Joyce Celebrated in Buffalo, NY

UB held a news conference on June 14 to introduce a new mural of renowned author and poet James Joyce in downtown Buffalo.
Photographer: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

Downtown Buffalo’s latest mural – a 36-foot-​tall homage to renowned Irish author and poet, James Joyce.

The University at Buffalo Libraries, home to world’s largest collection of James Joyce materials, celebrated Bloomsday, with the creation of Buffalo’s newest mural, a 36-foot-tall, vibrant artwork of Irish writer of world renown, James Joyce. The unveiling on June 14, at 181 Franklin St., drew local, state and international figures and dignitaries, including Consul General of Ireland in New York Ciarán Madden and New York State Senator, and Buffalo native, Tim Kennedy (D).

Consul General of Ireland in New York Ciarán Madden and New York State Senator Tim Kennedy at the Bloomsday celebration in Buffalo, NY on Monday June 14. Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

The mural is part of a broader fundraising campaign and initiative to raise awareness of the University of Buffalo’s James Joyce Collection, the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of manuscripts and materials by and about the famed author.

Through the university’s “Boldly Buffalo” campaign, the UB Libraries aims to create a James Joyce museum in Abbott Hall (on UB’s South Campus) that will provide a permanent exhibition of rare materials pertinent to the literary life and history of Joyce. The space is expected to draw scholars from around the world. Fundraising will also support a preservation and acquisitions endowment, a James Joyce curator position, and programming and exhibition funds.

“Our goal is nothing less than to invite the entire world to experience the literary life and works of Ireland’s James Joyce, while ensuring the continuation of the UB James Joyce Collection as an international destination for research and discovery,” said James Maynard, PhD, curator of the UB Poetry Collection and coordinator of the UB Rare and Special Books Collection.

“A permanent exhibition space would increase public access to our Joyce collection and enable it to have a larger and more impactful role in the local and regional communities, and to strengthen Western New York’s cultural tourism,” said Evviva Weinraub Lajoie, vice provost for UB libraries.

Consul General Ciarán Madden, who was on hand to unveil the mural, talked about the past and looking forward. “The links between Ireland and Buffalo, and Western New York more generally, are deep and longstanding; we will always celebrate them,” said Madden. “However, the UB James Joyce Collection is something distinct and special. Through its world-class collection about an Irish writer, UB is connected to experts and fans of Irish culture all over the world. With next year’s centenary of the publication of James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses,’ we hope that many more people will read Joyce for the first time, and through Joyce, discover this wonderful collection in the heart of Western New York.”

The mural arrives ahead of the 100th anniversary of Joyce’s landmark book “Ulysses” in 2022, which will feature a global series of Ulysses-related programs, exhibitions and events throughout the year, including on Bloomsday. The international holiday, held on June 16 – the same day “Ulysses” takes place – remembers the enigmatic story of a day in the life of protagonist Leopold Bloom in Dublin. “Ulysses” is considered by many to be the most significant novel of the 20th century.

The mural, based on an archival photograph of Joyce from the UB James Joyce Collection, was designed by Kristopher Miller, UB Libraries web manager and lead designer, and installed by Rory Allen, owner of Buffalo-based ZoomCopy.com. UB alumnus Frank LoTempio III, JD, and the LoTempio family donated use of the LoTempio P.C. Law Group building. The mural was funded in part by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Amherst Gaelic League, and Frank LoTempio.

The UB Libraries celebrated Bloomsday with the creation of a vibrant mural of renowned author and poet James Joyce in downtown Buffalo. Photographer: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

About the UB James Joyce Collection

UB is home to the largest collection of materials on Joyce in the world, including more than 10,000 pages of his working papers, notebooks and manuscripts, as well as photographs, portraits, memorabilia and Paris library, providing unmatched glimpses into the author’s writing process and literary relationships.

The James Joyce Collection — part of the UB Poetry Collection, the library of record for 20th- and 21st-century Anglophone poetry — is a destination for scholars around the world. Joyce is among the most highly researched literary figures of all time.

More information about the collection and how to contribute to it is available on this website for the collection.

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