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What's Up with the Bird?

2014-May 27
by Tracy Sawicki, Executive Director

I am often asked about the Foundation's logo. Why a bird? What's the connection? Is there something significant about it? Actually, there is.

For many years, the Foundation had no logo. But around 2005, that changed. At that time, The Foundation was growing and people working with Peter Tower recommended the Foundation should have a standard look that included a logo. Peter agreed and he approached Samuel Russo, his wife's art teacher and family friend, to take this on. Sam designed the logo for C.J. Tower and Sons years earlier. He was delighted to be asked; and knowing the importance of the Foundation to the family, he wanted to create a design that had special meaning.

Sam, having been Liz's art teacher, was very familiar with her artwork and wanted to try and incorporate it in the logo design. He shared this idea with Peter who loved it. Sam looked at several of Liz's paintings and began to imagine a design. He presented different renderings for consideration but it was the logo with the bird that stood out among them. It was the favorite.    

If you didn't know, Liz Tower was a well-known painter in Western New York and the bird is from her 1972 painting, Seagull (Self-Portrait).  If you don't know the story behind the painting, you are again left asking about the bird. Liz loved nature, especially birds and                           Seagull (Self-Portrait) 1972                          the ocean. She also had a great fascination with the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, a story about a seagull learning about life and flight, and lessons about self-perfection. Something about the story resonated with her. Liz wanted to express all this through her art. As Liz often did, she took to her studio, put paint to canvas and created the painting from which the Foundation logo was inspired.

So there it is, the story behind the bird. After it was shared with me, I no longer saw the logo as just a bird. It is my daily reminder of Liz and Peter Tower and how they have made a difference in so many lives because of their generosity. I hope you will too.


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