By now, most people have seen the outside renovation taking place at the corner of Seventh and Niagara streets in downtown Niagara Falls, but few have seen the renovation that has taken place inside the new TReC building located at 616 Niagara St.
TReC’s very purpose, which is to be a business incubator for entrepreneurs, oddly enough found itself hiring an artistic entrepreneur to restore a historic piece of art invented by just that, an entrepreneur.
When renovation was underway and walls were being torn down to connect and rebuild the spaces, TReC director Patrick Whalen and his crew stumbled upon what was a very large, very old piece of history. It was an advertising ad from the 1900s. Back then, an immigrant by the name of Thomas Cusack was getting into the outdoor advertising business and it led him to painting a three-story high ad for Quaker Oats on the outside of the brick building that would eventually house the first grocery store in Niagara Falls.
Whalen quickly discovered that whoever owned the store next thought the ad was too distracting to customers and began painting over it.
“We were over the moon when we began to uncover it,” Whalen said.
Desperately seeking an artist who could restore the original ad, Whalen was less than enthused in the prospects he met with.
Sitting in the room “Thinking we were stuck,” Whalen said he heard a knock at the window and a man yelling at him through the glass. At first, Whalen said he through the man was a panhandler.
“It was raining and he was soaking wet, holding a black garbage bag. I thought he wanted something to eat,” Whalen said.
Whalen motioned for the man to go around to the entrance and the man – David Jones – introduced himself as a painter. A
lmost dismissing him under the assumption he was a residential painter, Whalen said, “All of our walls are painted.”
It was then that Jones clarified himself as an artist, noting that he has worked as a…