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Calling local artists: NFTA holding contest to put "Black Excellence" on its buses

WBFO File Photo
The NFTA is hosting a contest, encouraging artists to submit works spotlighting Black excellence. The grand prize is having the work featured prominently on the side of a Metro Bus.

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority is calling for submissions from local artists, in a contest aimed at celebrating Black Excellence.

The idea was born during a recent NFTA African-American Culture Committee meeting. Members of that committee were discussing ideas to celebrate the forthcoming Black History Month.

Customer Relations Manager Crystal Edwards suggested an art contest.

“We thought this was a great way to involve our community and get people excited about celebrating Black History Month,” she said. “And also, this is something that we're doing now. So we're not just waiting for February, we're starting this in January, to kind of kick off our celebration.”

The contest is being conducted in collaboration with the Western New York Urban Arts Collective. Submissions will be accepted until midnight Sunday, January 23. Judging will begin the next day, with contestants notified by the end of the week of their status.

The grand prize is having that artwork featured prominently on a Metro Bus by late February, and continuing through the year.

“We're hoping to get a lot of entries so that we can make the determination for that grand prize winner,” Edwards said. “And then also, we're hoping to have a few that we can pick from. But the people that don't win, they're still going to be displayed on our social media sites for others in the community to look at their work as well.”

Artists interested in entering must live within the eight counties of Western New York. More details including requirements for submission are available on the NFTA’s website.

“It could be a drawing of one of the prominent African American people that we have in our community here. Or it could be, you know, a picture of Rosa Parks or anything that they believe Black excellence is to them. We just want them to be creative with it,” Edwards said.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.