SNYDER, N.Y. (WIVB) — In a time where so many employers are struggling to find workers, and jobs abound across WNY, a local college student is working on her career, so she can pay her way through college. And her neighbors far and wide are benefitting.
If you’re looking for Emma Baker-Terhaar this summer, there’s a good chance you’ll find her in someone’s backyard, transforming dull surfaces into masterpieces.
What was at first just way to leave her mark on her parents’ house in Snyder when she went away to college, has turned into a way to pay for school, while furthering her career.
“I actually had just done this one for my mom thinking that was it. And then my mom convinced me to put it on Facebook to see if anyone wants it. And it turns out people did,” Emma said.
This will be Emma’s third full summer of creating personalized murals and other outdoor art projects for dozens of her neighbors. Last summer was filled with 70 works, and the Amherst High School grad is already well on her way to topping that this summer.
For Emma, who will be a junior next fall at the Art Institute of Chicago, your fence or garage — or any surface really — is her blank canvas.
“And I love when people have crazy requests. (Like what?) Like a family of flamingos or two dragons fighting, fire and ice,” Emma said. “I love when people repost it and I get to see them loving it in their backyard. And it just makes the fences pop. It makes them look really cool.”
“I knew she was a very talented artist.”
For Jennifer Stockman, of Snyder, it was a custom made peace pole. Needless to say, she’s very happy with the results.
“She sat down with me, she asked me a number of questions of what I’m interested in,” Stockman said. “She heard me, and obviously she delivered.”
It’s also comforting to know, she said, the money will be going toward a great cause.
“It’s going to better herself and along the way, she’s going to have stories,” Stockman said. “And this is what this is all about, sharing our stories with one another.”
The spots are filling up quickly for Emma, so if you’re interested in having her transform your fence or garage wall, connect with her via Facebook.
Dave Greber is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.