Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

May 6, 2013

'Sweet' on Lockport

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — What's your sweet idea for Lockport?

An open question to the community went up on a chalk board outside City Hall on Monday. Everyone's invited to stop by, any time this week, and fill in the blank: "I'm important to Lockport because I ..."

The 8-by-8-foot interactive display, by downtown business owner Ellen Martin and the Market Street Art Center, subtly asks Lockportians to focus on the upsides, rather than the downsides, of local life.

Martin, the owner-operator of Sweet Sixteen Cafe and the Sweet Ride bike rental shop, says her query is inspired by the negativity that seem to erupt almost reflexively, in blogs, Facebook postings and everyday conversation, whenever the topic is Lockport. 

Listening to the local curmudgeons, you'd think there's no more hopeless place in the world than this.

Do the rest of us who've made our lives here agree?

Presumably not. It just doesn't occur to most of us to shout contentment from a rooftop — or jot it down on a "sweet" board in the public square. 

Thus the chalk board project is about "shifting the paradigm," Martin said. "Instead of focusing on shortcomings, let's look at what's good — and what each of us is doing, locally, to help our community."

The project is a form of community art, that is, public self-expression, according to Market Street Art Center director Linda Van Buskirk.

Taking chalk in hand is "an opportunity for people to express themselves about Lockport: why they live here, why they find it a good place to be," she said. "The purpose is to bring together people with good feelings."

The sweet board will be up at City Hall until next Monday. If participants find the board is full, Martin suggests they write "over others in different colors. It should be a free-for-all!"

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