The walls of a cafeteria come alive at Notre Dame

Mon, Nov 19th 2018 04:00 pm
Director of Advancement, South Buffalo Catholic Notre Dame Academy
Local artist Emily Leone Meidenbauer turned a ceiling beam into a ruler, and a wall into crayons. (Courtesy of NDA)
Local artist Emily Leone Meidenbauer turned a ceiling beam into a ruler, and a wall into crayons. (Courtesy of NDA)

Some people may think school buildings are lifeless and boring. That is not the case at South Buffalo Catholic Notre Dame Academy. A mural was recently created for the cafeteria in the Abbott Road building, whose premise is a box of crayons, which is a perfect theme for this pre-K - fourth-grade campus.

For those of you who are unaware, Notre Dame Academy is the only Catholic Elementary school in the Diocese of Buffalo that has two campuses. This unique set up allows teachers more room to continue to provide students with excellent academic programs that integrate the spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional and physical needs of each child within the context of Catholic values.

With that in mind, a mural conceived by canonical administrator of the school, Father Bryan Zielenieski, was brought to life by local artist Emily Leone Meidenbauer.

"As an artist," said Meidenbauer, "my goal is to bring joy to, not only the person who requests the painting, but to all those who see it. I was lucky to be in the school when a mother and her small child walked into the cafeteria. The little boy said to his mom, 'How cool. I wish something like this was in my school.' That really let me know that I was capturing Father Bryan's vision."

"Our school environment is one that is meant to inspire our children," explained Father Zielenieski. "Not only should our school building remind our kids that they are loved children of God, but it should also provide inspiration, and a fun atmosphere where learning is included into the very creative nature of the building. Emily was the perfect artist to bring our cafeteria to life through her mural."

"Before painting began, when I first walked into the room, there were directions and ideas written on sections of each wall," explained Meidenbauer. "One wall said pencil, crayons, ruler, blue, green, orange, purple, red. As I walked around the room, I began to see Father Bryan's vison. He wanted this room to be fun and happy for the students who are in this building. So, I worked from Father Bryan's notes on the wall and kept running things by him and Mrs. (Tristan) D'Angelo, the school principal. I am happy with the way this room turned out. I hope it will bring a smile to all those who enter, no matter their age."

To see more from artist Emily Leone Meidenbauer, go to and for more information on South Buffalo Catholic School Notre Dame Academy please visit or call 716-824-0726.  

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