The non-profit behind the new Seneca Street mural has more plans to make the area vibrant

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SOUTH BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A colorful new mural on Seneca Street in South Buffalo is attracting plenty of attention.

Rochester-based mural artist Justin Suarez created the “Vibrant Buffalo” mural on the side of Buffalo Jewelry and Loan, 2196 Seneca Street. He wrapped up work on the piece on Friday.

“People were beeping their car horns all day to say hi, giving us complements on it,” Suarez said.

The process took about ten days.

Suarez, who has been creating artwork with spray paint since he was 17, was commissioned by the Coalition for a Vibrant Seneca Street to create the piece. The mural was made possible through a grant funded by the Buffalo Billion’s Better Buffalo Fund.

Suarez worked with the Coalition on the design, which includes a large bison, an “A W Bartlett Cash Grocery” horse-drawn cart, and the Shea’s Seneca sign.

“We were trying to represent some of the history of Seneca Street with a little more of an urban art element to it,” Suarez said.

The new mural isn’t the only way the Coalition is making Seneca Street more vibrant.

The organization is a non-profit dedicated to revitalizing Seneca Street.

It formed as a grassroots organization made up of residents who were concerned about the deterioration of the neighborhood, Coalition president Marc Pasquale said.

“They knew if they were going to make a change, the residents themselves would have to do it,” Pasquale said.

The organization began attracting outside developers to the area. Since then, the neighborhood has seen millions of dollars of new development- like the new DePaul residential buildings, the restoration of Shea’s Seneca, and projects by Hook and Ladder Development.

“We’re seeing new businesses, eateries- and those really are the things keeping people in the neighborhood, which is what we wanted to do,” Pasquale said.

The Coalition has stayed true to its community roots- the board is made up of community residents.

They come together on a monthly basis and work on projects like streetscaping, adding flowerbeds, and getting grants, coordinator Matthew Fisher said.

The group is responsible for the “Historic Seneca” banners along the corridor.

The Coalition also helps secure grant funding for local businesses to beautify their property.

“The Coalition has helped to obtain about $1 million in commercial grants for 12 different property owners to fix up their property,” Fisher said.

If you’re interested in getting involved with the Coalition for a Vibrant Seneca Street, visit their Facebook page.

Kaley Lynch is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of her work here.

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