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Public art is cultivating hope in north end of Niagara Falls


Fri, Oct 28th 2022 02:40 pm

Four Main Street murals completed within a week by the community

Article and photos submitted by Insight International USA

The Niagara Falls National Heritage Area has initiated a series of public murals to bring visibility to the Main Street community in the north end of the City of Niagara Falls. Murals have been painted in four separate locations within a one-week period to bring awareness to a dilapidated Main Street, engaging the community through art. The project aims to beautify the buildings that line the long stretch of Main Street between the Niagara Falls Public Library and the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center, igniting conversations about Main Street’s historic legacy, present-day community, and future possibilities.

The project was ideated and implemented by artists, organizations, community members and stakeholders to create public awareness about topics like "History Lives Here," "We are the Community," "Imagine the Possibilities" and "This Was a School." The murals reflect on the importance of what once was, and bring voice to the residents living in the community who have ideas and visions for the possibilities of what could be.

“Working on this project was extremely inspiring. Being able to bring my art to Niagara Falls, and having it taken so positively by the community was an incredible experience in my career,” said Princessa S. Williams, one of the artists for the murals and owner of Princessa Studio and Art Gallery. “Niagara Falls is a blank canvas, and I am honored to have been one of the people who aided in beautifying it.”

The murals are part of the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area’s placemaking work, designed to generate opportunities for everyone to participate. The community mural-making has seen all ages and abilities join in the process, and come together to have conversations with one another.

On Wednesday, Samika Sullivan came out with Packard Court Community Center and youth from their after-school program to partake in the artistic activities.

“It was enlightening to see how open this project was to bringing in the community,” said Sullivan, director at the Niagara Falls Housing Authority. “I know the kids loved being able to put their mark on the neighborhood, and this is something that they will be able to show their kids one day. It was a really cool experience.”

One of the goals of this project is to bring beauty to the city with direct community participation.

“These murals stem from the community and create a sense of pride for residents,” said Saladin Allah, director of community engagement at Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center. “The community is really who pushes us to do the best we can for the area, and this project is for all the people who truly care about Niagara Falls.”

“We are so encouraged by the positive impact that this project has brought upon the city,” said Ally Spongr, director of public art for Niagara Falls National Heritage Area. “It is all about bringing visibility to this neighborhood, and the history that happened here on Main Street. So, it was amazing to see how many residents wanted to jump in and participate immediately, and share their stories and ideas.”

Main Street Mural Locations

•Mural 1, “History Lives Here” – 1810 Main St., Niagara Falls

•Mural 2, “Imagine the Possibilities” – 1708 Main St., Niagara Falls

•Mural 3, “We Are The Community” – 1802 Main St., Niagara Falls

•Mural 4, “This Was a School” – 1810 Main St., Niagara Falls

For updates, visit https://www.facebook.com/discoverniagara and https://www.facebook.com/nfmurals.

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.

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