Niagara Falls National Heritage Area Mural Project is a public art project that, when completed, will feature ten murals on the wall of the underpass on Main and Depot Streets right across from the Amtrak station in Niagara Falls.
The overarching theme for the National Heritage Area Mural Project is “Freedom.”
Niagara Falls artist, Jonathan Rogers, was working on his piece entitled “Walk to Freedom” it focuses on the various dimensions of freedom.
“Most people think freedom is a great idea and they’re happy about it and they look forward to it, other people are scared, angry, ambitious, focused, and predatory,” Rogers said.
Says he’s trying to convey the different responses people have to the concept of freedom. One character in his mural has a happy expressions and many of the others do not.
“You see their facial expression, they’re anxious, they’re taking on the first taste of freedom, woah, I didn’t know it was going to be like this, I have to look after myself,” he said. “I’m responsible, I’ve got to survive. And, I’ve got to survive to support and shelter others. It’s a big deal.”
Two murals were completed this week. One depicts a famous jazz musician from Niagara Falls, his name is John “Spider” Martin. Martin’s brother is also a jazz musician Pappy Martin.
“Both of them were very significant in the jazz scene they played at a very important location here in the city of Niagara Falls known as the Ontario House. At one point in the city we had a jazz festival in honor of the Ontario house,” said Saladin Allah, project coordinator for the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area Mural Project .
Allah says, members of the community attended the planning sessions for the art project. They helped pick some of the people represented in the images like Niagara Falls Highland community activist Doris Jones.
“Doris Jones she was a very important community advocate and activist for a lot of the residents who live in public housing,” Allah said.