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Tuesday, May 5, 2015
The "Mural on Main" design was unveiled tonight at the Historic Palace Theatre. (PHOTOS BY HEATHER N. GRIMMER / ENP PHOTOGRAPHER)

By +Scott Leffler

It's an idea so big it requires a 42- by 60-foot canvas. And organizers see it as another piece in the puzzle of Lockport's resurgence.

Muralist Augustina Droze signs limited edition prints of the
"Mural on Main" design while George Fritz looks on.
An artist's sketch of the planned "Mural on Main" was unveiled to a crowd of eager residents tonight at the Historic Palace Theatre — and the artist herself was unveiled, as well.

Augustina Droze, a Buffalo-based artist, was chosen to create the massive mural, which will be seen from both Main Street and the Erie Canal. With 14 years of experience, she boasts completed public art projects around the country — and two in India.

Lockport's mural will include three old-time canawlers standing in front of the flight of five. Over them an angelic woman holds a pair of vases with water flowing from them, framing the scene. The flowing water is a throwback to a 1905 mural entitled "Marriage of the Waters," by C.Y. Turner, which shows then-Gov. DeWitt Clinton pouring water from Lake Erie into the ocean at New York City. The four corners of the mural show Lockport architecture, farmland, recreation and produce.

With the artist — and design — chosen, the only thing left to do before the actual work begins is to raise the money. The project is slated to cost approximately $35,000. The Grigg-Lewis Foundation has offered $10,000 of that, providing the mural committee gets funds to match it.

The Mural on Main Committee has come up with a unique fundraising concept: ownership. They're selling $5 shares in the mural and offering a stock certificate to donors. The customized note of contribution can be purchased at Mills Jewelers, the Niagara County History Center or Tickebridge Co-Op Market in the Bewley Building.

Another donation opportunity asks for larger contributions — in the $500 - $2,000 range. Those donors, listed as Silver, Gold or Platinum level donors, will have their name engraved on a plaque to be installed at the base of the mural, showing their level of participation.

The plans are for Droze to start the mural in September. She said it will take about a month, which is in line with many of the other projects she's done before.

It's expected that people will watch as Droze paints the lifelike images on the mural. Many of her previous works include real-to-life style people, which she promises to create again for the Lockport mural.

"Mural on Main" committee member and chief proponent George Fritz — on whose business the mural will go — said he imagines the mural project will entice other similar projects to follow it.

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