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Local artist turns old foam food containers into paintings to benefit FeedMore WNY

Barbara Baird created 100 foam mosaic tile paintings and is selling them for $40 each. All proceeds will go to feed those in need in Western New York.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A local artist is feeding her passion for art and helping feed people in need in Western New York in a creative way.

Barbara Baird made 100 8" x 8" paintings over the past two years, but her canvas is unique — she repurposed Styrofoam food containers and painted on those. She also used recycled newspaper, paper towels, and even the foil wrappers from chocolate Easter eggs.

Baird had long used old foam packaging for makeshift paint pallets, but she hesitated to toss them out and started saving them.

"They were pretty, and I didn't know what I was going to do with them. I had a stack of them, and I thought well let's cut them up, make little Styrofoam tiles, and then put them together in small mosaic paintings," said Baird.

She has been creating art since she was a kid. She went to art school, taught art, owned a framing business, and served as a docent at the Albright-Knox for 15 years.

It's safe to say creativity and a passion for art is in her blood, but even though she's not making a living from art anymore, she is making a difference with each of the pieces hanging on the wall inside Pine Apple Co. on Allen Street in Buffalo.

"I'm at a stage in my life where I am secure, and I have everything I need but not everyone in our community does. So I wanted to do something personal about the pandemic. I thought let's have an art show," said Baird.

The paintings are $40 each, but people can donate more if they choose. All proceeds will benefit FeedMore WNY.

"I'm excited to not only to sell art off the wall and feed people who need it but also start those creative conversations about how other people can give back and walk away with that piece of art feeling proud that they did something for their community," said Mickey Harmon, an artist and owner of Pine Apple Co.

Baird's show opening is Friday, October 1 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Pine Apple Co., located at 65 Allen Street in Buffalo. The show runs through October, and people can purchase art during business hours.

And you want to check out Baird's art and works from other artists, you can head to the First Friday gallery walk, also on October 1.

Allen Street will be closed from Delaware to Franklin that evening to make room for a stage with DJ and drag performances, vendors, and of course a lot of great art.