Niagara Falls, NY – The Niagara Falls Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI) will kick off a series of free, community-based outreach events with a public art project at the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center (NACC) located at 1201 Pine Ave.
Participants in the Redirection Roadmap art event will be provided with two canvasses, paint, brushes and other art supplies and are advised to wear old clothing. Completed panels will be displayed in the NACC Townsend Gallery through the end of March, and then mounted at two additional publicly accessible venues, to be determined, through June 2019.
“This is the first in a series of events tentatively to include an educational seminar, mini film festival and ‘movement’ marathon. Together they are designed to celebrate the rich cultural history of the city, acknowledge health and wellness challenges and barriers that face chronically underserved communities, and offer strategies for addressing beliefs and behaviors that can hamper advancement. Our hope is to engage people and encourage them to take action toward a positive personal future with support from ESPRI,” Project Director Jeffrey Pirrone said.
Having recently started the implementation phase of its work, the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative was launched in 2017 by Governor Cuomo to promote public-private partnerships as a way to increase economic mobility for all New Yorkers. Niagara Falls is one of the 11 cities designated to receive a portion of the $25M in funding identified create a pipeline of services that connect underemployed and unemployed people with jobs and job training.
For Niagara Falls, ESPRI means “tangibly” reducing levels of economic insecurity through case management, a comprehensive network of service referrals, and academic and vocational training opportunities, all with a focus on racial disparity. The ultimate goal of ESPRI is to secure sustainable employment for 200 residents by 2020. Niagara Falls is partnered with Catholic Charities of Western New York to administer the ESPRI program and caseworkers are working with enrolled individuals to identify educational needs and career planning that can help them define and realize personal goals.
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Kicking off the ESPRI initiative in 2017, Mayor Paul Dyster stated, “We’re not attempting to reinvent the wheel, but rather build a better bridge. Our bridge is much more than metaphorical in the fight against poverty. We literally have to eliminate a gap that’s halting project for a large number of our residents.”
“The Redirection Roadmap art event and other ESPRI outreach events offer Niagara Falls residents — and potential employers — a culturally edifying opportunity to better understand the process and enroll on site”, Pirrone said.
For more information about Niagara Falls ESPRI and the Redirection Roadmap art project at NACC call 716-282-2351.