A vacant storefront near Main and Third streets in Niagara Falls now features paper cutouts of human figures, part of a public art project designed to bring attention to development opportunities.

In downtown Niagara Falls, you can often count more vacant storefronts than pedestrians.

The two go hand-in-hand: empty streets mean empty stores.

But at least one part of that equation is changing this week with the installation of a new public art project designed to draw attention to the storefronts and to spur renewed development in the area.

Installation of Niagara University's "Shadow Selfies" project, which features 110 black paper cut-outs of human figures that will be affixed to windows of vacant storefronts, began this week. The figures are currently visible in storefronts along a particularly derelict stretch of road near Main and Third streets.

"Once these installations are complete and back-lit in the evenings during the height of the tourism season, the result will be an ongoing depiction of potential commercial opportunity, harkening back to the boom days of the city of Niagara Falls," Castellani Art Museum curator Michael Beam said. "The concept for this public art project is to buttress the new renaissance that the city of Niagara Falls is experiencing, while perhaps stirring developer interest."

The project is a collaboration between the Castellani and Niagara Falls' Department of Community Development.

email: cdabkowski@buffnews.com

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