‘Shadow Selfies’ bring life to vacant Niagara Falls storefronts

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NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — Niagara University students spent Wednesday morning decorating windows of vacant buildings in Niagara Falls.

“So we’ve been working with about 4 or 5 people all morning just taping them up, trying to better the community make it more attractive,” said Jake Martineau, Niagara University student.

Several life-size silhouettes or ‘shadow selfies’ can now be seen on vacant storefronts at the corner of Main and Third street.

“I know overtime that a number of these have been shoe stores, restaurants, closed and shuttered since then. But the idea is hopefully it will spur people to say I’m going to take a chance, I’m going to invest in Niagara Falls,” said Michael Beam, Niagara University Castellani Art Museum Special Projects.

The shadow selfies were made by Niagara University students and faculty, and members of the Boys and Girls Club. It’s all part of a project called Power Up Niagara. A small project, with hopes of making a big impact.

“All of these windows are going to be back lit with flourescent lighting behind it so at night it’s going to give the appearance that these stores are open, that there’s things going on,” said Beam.

Those involved in the project hope the artistic flair could attract new development.

“It absolutely adds a new energy like we just saw folks that were walking down the street asking what is it, what’s going on. It spurs interest, the sense of community, the sense of togetherness,” said Beam.

This project is the first of many Niagara University plans to do over the next few years in partnership with the city and the Levesque Institute. The vacant storefront shadow selfies could be lit up at night as soon as this weekend.

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