Central New York, Non-profit, Poverty

A New Mural For Syracuse’s Near West Side

Isabella Wood reports on the impact of murals in Syracuse. (c) 2018 Isabella Wood

Video Transcript: Wood Murals Script

By Isabella Wood SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – The Near West Side of Syracuse is one of the poorest parts of the city. Believe in Syracuse, a non-profit organization, is working to change that. Believe in Syracuse Board of Directors President Paul Colabufo is passionate about the project.

“If it was up to me we would get them all done and cover the city in murals,” he said of the 45 submissions he received for the project.

Believe in Syracuse is dedicated to making the city of Syracuse better. Its current initiative is focused around painting a mural at 1022 W Fayette Street on the Near West Side of Syracuse.

“This is going into the Near West Side, which is a neighborhood that in the past has had some hard times, but also is a neighborhood that is really turning around, has some really passionate people living here,” Colabufo said.

Colabufo describes an art renaissance happening in the area. He believes that art can help people establish a connection with their community and become more proud to be a part of it.

“I think the main thing that art does is it gives you an emotional attachment that maybe wasn’t there before, and I think that is the big thing that we want, as an organization we want to foster that. We want people to have an emotional attachment to Syracuse, say this is my home and I love this place,” he said.

Syracuse resident Narcisse Ruta agrees, saying that the murals in Syracuse make him proud of where he lives.

“Murals are just not plain, they have messages behind murals,” Ruta said.

Where the murals are:

Produced by Isabella Wood

Colabufo wants murals all over the city eventually. However, the one on Fayette Street is the current priority.

Studies show that having art in a neighborhood can enhance its economy and really turn a run-down part of town into an up and coming area. A study run through Princeton University said that any audience participation in art can be instrumental in improving a city or neighborhood both culturally and economically.

The fact that the mural will be painted by a local artist only enhances the significance for Ruta.

“I want to be one of them too,” he said. “I want to start drawing but I’m not a good artist.”

Colabufo agrees that beautiful local art should inspire pride in residents.

“You want people to have pride in where they live, and if they don’t, then that’s when it’s easy to let things just fall apart… It’s just a natural part of the human condition to value art,” Colabufo said.

By adding murals to poorer parts of Syracuse, the organization hopes that residents will be proud and make an effort to continue beautifying their neighborhoods. Ruta says that the murals are important for representation as well.

“This one represents something to the people that live around this neighborhood,” he said of a mural on Westcott Street, “and if you go to a different side of town, you can also see different kinds of murals too, that also represent them too.”

Colabufo and Ruta agree that these murals have the potential to help revamp the city of Syracuse.

“Syracuse is always kind of surprising me and impressing me,” Colabufo said.

Colabufo expected to get about 15 submissions from artists interested in painting the mural. He got 45, which he says means that this so-called art renaissance is doing good for the city already.

Believe in Syracuse hopes to have the mural completed by mid-August.


A mural on Westcott Street (c) 2018 Isabella Wood

A mural in art park (c) 2018 Isabella Wood