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Design an “Idea Box” for the Pride In Place Project

If you want to get input from community members on how to strengthen a neighborhood, the best place to start is with the residents. Often times, people feel that they know what’s best for a neighborhood, without fully understanding the needs and wants of those that live there.

That’s why LISC Western New York, in partnership with the Buffalo Center for Health, is launching a new initiative (part of the Pride In Place Project – an AARP Community Challenge Project), seeking community input on how to elevate the human experience for those living on the near East Side. Ultimately, this will be done by catering to the “hopes and dreams” of the residents, who are directly tied into their neighborhoods via landmarks, arts and culture events, health initiatives, etc. – all important aspects of life that are considered crucial rebuilding elements during the COVID-19 recovery.

A chance top work alongside local creatives and equity advocates, to plant seeds and rebuild, guided by neighborhood-owned community development visions. 

A major facet of this project starts with the design and construction of “Idea Boxes” that are made possible thanks to an 2020 AARP Community Challenge grant that is “working to celebrate and reinvigorate Black and Brown culture, community, and pride throughout near East Side Buffalo neighborhoods.”

Currently, a Call to Artists has been issued (available through December 18), for artists and artisans to submit their design proposals for Idea Boxes (20 total), which will be placed on vacant lots and at vacant building sites. Once in place, the community will be invited to:

  1. Submit physical ideas in the idea boxes
  2. Email ideas to a designated email address
  3. Scan a QR code to submit input

The public can expect to see these idea boxes popping up on site mid to late February.

The digital hub for the project is now live at Community members can:

Build Your Own Walking or Biking Tours

Tour locations take you to landmarks and a wide variety of public art and historic sites. Click the orange circle at the bottom of the map to build your own tour

Provide Neighborhood & Community Development Input

If you have ideas for future public art, bus stop designs, parks in your neighborhood, and redevelopment ideas of key neighborhood sites, visit the link to submit your thoughts

Share Family Stories & History

During this holiday season, we encourage families to share intergenerational stories of their lived experience with each other. Upload those stories, poems, or photographs to our storytelling page (see link above)

Get News of Virtual and Socially Distant Events

Find info about food education events, Wakanda Alliance youth programming, Virtual Tree Lightings, and Buffalo Kwanzaa

Update: Following is an example of one of the Idea Boxes that was created:

If you have questions or wish to submit content from your organization or initiative to the website, please contact

To see a full list of local partners participating in this project, visit

Lead image: Photo by Tamarcus Brown

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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