How can one individual solve the issue of plastic pollution? Simple – they can’t. It is not up to one individual to do everything perfectly, but up to everyone working together, doing what we can, imperfectly. Micro- and mesoplastics are all around us, the smallest forms of plastic visible to the human eye, and the last step before plastic becomes microscopic and nearly impossible to remove from the environment. 

Starting in May, Microplastic Recycling Bins were placed in six strategic locations around Erie County. Weekly cleanups filled the boxes with micro- and mesoplastics, removing them from the cycle of harm and creating a colorful record of a community coming together. Reading Landscapes combines science and art using installation and interactivity to question how we can be better stewards of our environment. 

Nicole Chochrek is an interdisciplinary artist who received her Master of Fine Arts from the University at Buffalo in 2022 and her Bachelor’s in Geography and Environmental Science from the University of North Texas in 2015. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and is currently CEPA’s Artist-in-Residence through Creatives Rebuild New York. 

One of Buffalo’s sources of pride is our ability to come together for our neighbors. Reading Landscapes does just that while simultaneously reminding us that our neighbors are not just the people next door but the fish, birds, and other wildlife that call Buffalo their home too.

Contributions to the boxes are encouraged for the duration of the show. 

Made possible by Creative Rebuild New York, a New York State Endowment for the Arts Initiative,  in an exciting partnership with the Buffalo Arts Commission, the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Unity Island, The Foundry, Tifft Nature Preserve, Squeaky Wheel, Springville Center For-Arts, and more. For information on the project, other box locations, and dates visit:

Exhibit Location

FOCUS Gallery

617 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14203

Exhibit Dates

October 6, 2023- December 8, 2023


Free to the public

Exhibit Times

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
By appointment
4:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
12:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
12:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.