Academy of Visual Arts students in the West Seneca Central School District received real-world work experience when George Aronis, owner of The Olive Branch Restaurant on Union Road, reached out asking if they would paint a fiberglass buffalo to be displayed at the restaurant.
“We wanted to do something as a thank you to the community so we purchased a buffalo and gave it to the high schools for them to paint,” said Aronis, a West Seneca Chamber of Commerce member who recently did a similar project with Lancaster High School for his other restaurant, The Olive Tree.
The students, representing both East and West Senior, were given free rein on the design of the bison, but were asked to show support for their community.
“We want it to be something everybody can look at and be proud of being in West Seneca,” Aronis said.
“It is a really nice statement that someone believed in the kids so much to take on an undertaking like this,” shared Chris Galley, art teacher at West Seneca West Senior High School. “If you’re a working artist, these are the types of jobs you get all the time. This is really valuable and important, teaching the students time management and completing projects by deadlines.”
As a thank you for their time and hard work, The Olive Branch then donated $500 to the academy at each high school for art supplies.
“Being able to work on something like this with my friends was my favorite part of the project,” shared Alexander Bardotz, a sophomore at West Senior. “I’ve seen the buffalos around town and thought this project would be a cool thing to be part of, to see my work on something. If I ever have kids some day I can show it to them and say I did that!”