Beginning this week, artist Steve "ESPO" Powers will team with the Near Westside Initiative and the Connective Corridor to transform the corner of West Fayette and West streets into an eye-catching mural installation titled "A Love Letter to Syracuse."
The Near Westside Initiative has commissioned internationally-known Powers to create a public art project to "visually disrupt" a physical barrier at the most critical intersection of the Connective Corridor and Near Westside.
The gateway, where The Warehouse sits, is used by thousands of commuters daily and provides access to downtown, but also acts as a natural barrier between the Near Westside and the rest of the city. Created by heavy traffic and three cavernous bridges that deter individuals from passing under them, the barrier has created a chasm in Syracuse for years. Powers will transform the bridges into enormous pieces of public art, making the intersection more aesthetically interesting and pedestrian-friendly.
"The goal of the project is to ultimately bridge the Near Westside community to downtown, which will give access to new markets and resources for residents in the neighborhood," said Maarten Jacobs, director of the Near Westside Initiative. "When conceiving this project, we knew we had to commission an artist who could bring both the talent and social consciousness needed to make the intersection a celebrated space that no longer acts as a barrier, but instead bonds neighborhoods and people together."
Powers is a New York City-based artist who at one time wrote graffiti in Philadelphia and New York under the name ESPO ("Exterior Surface Painting Outreach"). In 2000, he gave up graffiti to become a full-time studio artist. He has created artwork for the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Teen Health Center; painted signs and rides at Coney Island; and created murals in Dublin and Belfast, both located in Ireland's Shankhill area.