NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — Rochester artist Justin Suarez was working on his new mural Monday on Depot Avenue in Niagara Falls as part of the NF Murals project.
“I think that now more than ever, is an important time for public art to be in the spotlight,” he said. “I think that especially during COVID, when people had little opportunity to do anything except go and explore the place that they lived in, public art was a thing to go and explore”
The mural will be among several others honoring people in history who have passed.
But Suarez wanted to do something a little different.
“I wanted to take the opportunity to try and put the spotlight on somebody who is young and alive, and contributing to the culture of our society,” he said.
Suarez said the mural is dedicated to a former apprentice, Kaori-Mei Stephens, who he mentored in the past. Stephens is half Black and half Japanese.
“I learned quite a bit from her, particularly about the importance of young people of color being able to see themselves represented in public art,” he said.
And a common theme in Suarez’s work is a focus on the wildlife indigenous to the area where he is painting.
“I think this is a beautiful location to be able to paint. Like the tree directly up above the wall, I get a lot of sunlight here,” he said.
Suarez has been working on this mural for five days now, and he expects it to complete in a couple of days.
View the WKBW article here: https://www.wkbw.com/news/local-news/new-mural-in-niagara-falls-dedicated-to-youth