As the Community Begins Juneteenth Celebrations, Leaders Unveil the Future Look of the Inspiring Landmark
When you’ve got a good project that everyone loves, it’s always a good idea to ensure that it has the resources that it needs to sustain itself, and even grow. That sentiment even applies to public art, which is typically ephemeral, can take a beating, and even has the ability to change the face of a neighborhood.
Take The Freedom Wall for example. The corner has been transformed from a blasé spot to one that is full of history, emotion, character, and inspiration.
The Freedom Wall is an important and moving mural that celebrates our nation’s historic and ongoing struggles for political and social equality.
To enhance the setting of The Freedom Wall, Senator Tim Kennedy, along with leadership from the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission (MSAAHCC), the East Side Garden Walk (ESGW), and the NFTA, has announced that the corner of Michigan Avenue and East Ferry Street will get some much needed love, in the form of:
- Reconstruction of the area between the concrete wall and street curbing
- Installation of LED lighting to accent the wall portraits
- Replacement of worn street curbing and improvement of sidewalk accessibility
Senator Kennedy has obtained state funding for the project, which is expected to cost approximately $734,000.
“We are so grateful to Senator Kennedy who made this important and meaningful project come to life,” said Kim Minkel, NFTA Executive Director. “Thanks to Senator Kennedy we will have the money needed to improve the curb appeal around the Freedom Wall. This moving public art project has become a major destination in Western New York, and we are proud to be part of the Freedom Wall and all it represents.”
These new advancements of The Freedom Wall are also thanks to public input, surveys, and public meetings, which ensured that the community had a voice in the outcome.
“This enhancement project will ensure that the Freedom Wall is truly illuminated and appreciated in the way it deserves to be. From the very beginning of this process, it was important to us that we were collaborating with groups like the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission and members of the East Side Garden Walk to discuss what these improvements would look like and how they would be incorporated into this powerful piece of art,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “I’m grateful to our community leaders for continuing to have a thoughtful dialogue with the NFTA and my office, and I’m thrilled to celebrate this progress as we celebrate Juneteenth and the people featured in this iconic Buffalo mural.”
Of course, the timing couldn’t be better for such an undertaking, seeing that we must do everything in our power to move forward together as a united city, in the wake of the May 14 massacre.
This public project will begin later this summer with a target completion date of the Fall 2022.