60 Alabama Street in the Old First Ward will soon be the site of a giant 5000 square foot mural. The imagery will depict the history and the future of the neighborhood. Until now, the side of the Community Steel Building facing Republic Street has been considered an unsightly community blackboard for taggers.
On Monday July 21st, artist Vinny Alejandro will lead a team to “take back the wall”. The effort will take approximately three weeks to accomplish, and will require the support of neighbors and friends. Executive Director of the Old First Ward Community Association(OFWCA), Laura Kelly, is one of the people heading up the project. “We noticed an opportunity to do so with a grant program funded by the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) and Administered by Arts Services Initiative (ASI),” Laura said. “ECHDC sponsored a series of arts and performance grants for the Buffalo River area this year (see here). ECHDC was sold on our story of a community led mural project to transform a negative into a positive. This area in the ward has thousands of visitors every year (Shamrock Run, St. Patty’s Parade, Buffalo River Tours, etc…) whose first impression no longer will be vulgar graffiti but a beautiful tribute to the rich heritage of the area and a look at its promising future.”
The mural is slated to be unveiled on August 9th from 4-6 PM at the Old First Ward center at 62 Republic Street.
Community Steel- owners Jeff and Sally Lauck gave us permission to use their building for this project.
Glidden/PPG Paints- donations of materials and paint
Paint Only Group- painter Mike May and partners donated their labor to prime and prep the building
Hyatt’s art supplies- discounted spray cans and products for mural
Volunteers- additional area artists Ed “Sparky” Lawton and Jake Wiles will be assisting
According to Matt Fisher, Community Development Coordinator at the Old First Ward Community Association, other volunteers are welcome and needed. Please call 716-856-8613 if you can help.