The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area (NFNHA) have selected Jalen Law, a local professional artist, to create a new mural inside the Portage Road Transportation Center. Based on his portfolio and prior engagement in the Niagara Falls community, Law was selected from a group of artists who responded to NFTA-Metro and NFNHA’s call for artists at the end of 2020.
Law will begin putting the mural onto the wall of the transportation center on Thursday.
A press release stated, “Initially, the intent for the mural was to improve the appearance of the center’s indoor waiting area, generating feelings of comfort, safety and pride. But with Law onboard, the project has evolved to truly connect with the residents of Niagara Falls, empowering them to have their voices heard through an interactive element that allows the public to provide feedback.”
Law said, “I hope that this newest piece can ultimately be a vehicle for discussion. Art has an amazing capability to spark conversations that can eventually lead to positive change. I’m intending to make a piece that is authentic, honest, and can truly speak to all different types of people.”
Ultimately, the mural will be a way for the community to express itself.
Saladin Allah, project coordinator for the NF Murals project, has been working alongside Law in making sure the piece is meaningful and impactful for the city.
“The NF Murals project has been all about portraying the city’s people and history and celebrating the vibrancy of our community,” he said. “This mural is going to continue that mission, and it’s great that it’s going in a location that is seen by so many people on a daily basis.”
The location of the piece is strategic: The Portage Road Transportation Center sees over 2,000 boardings per week, to and from Buffalo and within Niagara Falls and Niagara County.
Ally Spongr, project director of NFNHA, said, “The center is central to the community. The piece will be incredibly visible and will be able to inspire countless visitors. That’s why we are also including a QR code on the piece. Viewers will be able to scan the code and visit a webpage where they can provide feedback to us that we can take into consideration for future projects.”
NFTA-Metro said it is looking forward to the impact that the new artwork will have not only on the Portage Road Transportation Center, but on the transportation system in general.
“This project is a great way to enhance our transit center to create an environment that the community will be proud to use while accessing our system,” said Tom George, NFTA’s director of public transportation. “The artwork will provide a friendlier, more inviting atmosphere, while also offering a glimpse into the rich history and unique characteristics of the surrounding neighborhoods, adding positivity to the daily experience of the many people who use the NFTA-Metro services.”
NFTA-Metro serves 24 million people each year in Erie and Niagara counties, and is made up of 1,000 employees, including operators, planners, mechanics, technicians and specialists responsible for delivering service and working diligently to make it easy for our customers to experience the highest level of public transportation. The American Public Transportation Association awarded NFTA-Metro with the top Gold Award in its 2020 Bus and Rail Safety & Security Excellence Awards.
The NF Murals project is part of Niagara Falls Heritage Arts, the public art initiative of the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area. The NFNHA facilitates partnerships between artists, public and private organizations, and community members and stakeholders to envision and create public art, impacting the cultural landscape with pieces that reflect and honor the history and legacy of Niagara Falls. Learn more at nfmurals.org and discoverniagara.org.
Law is an artist with five years of related work experience, as well as a portfolio of varied accomplishments including referenced publications, exhibitions and academic achievements. His recent mural, “Calvin ‘Pop’ Porter,” was created in 2020 and is located at Main Street and Depot Avenue alongside 13 other murals. Law possesses a strong sense of artistry and forward-thinking that is consistently displayed across all art pieces. He also works with clients for customized art works. His portfolio can be viewed at www.TheJalenLawCollection.com.
At a press conference held Thursday, May 20, local artist Jalen Law painted the first brushstrokes of his mural inside the waiting area of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Portage Road Transportation Center. Based on his portfolio and prior engagement in the Niagara Falls community, Law had been selected for the project by NFTA-Metro and the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area after they released a call for artists at the end of 2020. (Image courtesy of Insight International USA)