Niagara Falls, NY — The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA-Metro) 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.
NFTA-Metro and NFNHA hosted a press conference Monday where Jalen began putting the mural onto the wall of the Transportation Center.
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.
“I hope that this newest piece can ultimately be a vehicle for discussion,” he said. “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,” said Allah. “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, emphasized that this location is purposeful.
“The Center is central to the community,” she said. “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 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.”