The M&T – William Emslie YMCA Mural
Edreys Wajed, co-founder of Eat Off Art had the honor of designing the new mural located on the wall of the William-Emslie Wall next to the newly installed M&T Bank ATM. The mural was installed by the Eat Off Art team.
The portraits in this mural are meant to serve as a representation, a small glimpse and snapshot of the Black community. On the right side, the elder, a mother; grandmother and senior citizen, holds a proud posture and glowing expression. She is looking into the future. Part of that future and its success rests partly in the hands of the youth. The young man on the left, gestures his lower hand towards the elder, suggesting an accepting of responsibility, with love and respect. The expression on his face is to symbolize joy and a feeling of true freedom, with his right arm lifted, hand open, to receive blessings.
The patchwork of colors in the background were inspired by a birds-eye view of the surrounding streets, symbolizing neighborhoods and the diverse communities that the YMCA and M&T Bank continue to bring together, serve and support.
To elaborate on the color selection:
- Black – Power and Elegance
- Green – Growth and Balance
- Yellow – Joy and Opportunity
- Orange – Creativity and Adventurous
- Purple – Royalty and Imagination
- Blue – Freedom and Self Expression
Quote from M&T Bank on the new mural at William-Emslie YMCA
Edreys Wajed’s new mural captures the spirit of what M&T Bank and the William Emslie Family YMCA are working to accomplish every day – to bring people together and make a difference in their lives. It provides a stunning depiction of the diversity and resiliency of East Buffalo, offering a hopeful message that connects people across generations and cultural identities.
Our team at M&T Bank hopes this mural will remind people what exists behind this painted wall – support and resources to help build healthy minds, bodies, and spirits, as well as educational tools to help families achieve financial empowerment in a historically underserved area of Western New York. Last year, we opened a branch inside the William Emslie Family YMCA to provide greater access to financial guidance. Collaborating with the Y, our goal is to help address issues that have persisted for decades – and break those cycles, providing support that uplifts our community and helps people achieve their financial goals.
This is the second collaboration between M&T Bank and Edreys Wajed, who has demonstrated a unique ability to tell compelling stories through his art. His portrayal of Buffalo-born jazz legend Grover Washington, Jr. was painted on the exterior of M&T’s Kensington branch in 2020. With this latest mural, he sought to provide an artistic glimpse into Buffalo’s Black community and the intergenerational connections that exist within it.
Quote from YMCA on the new mural at William-Emslie YMCA
Together with our great partners at M&T Bank, the YMCA Buffalo Niagara wishes to thank Buffalo-based artist, educator, and entrepreneur Edreys Wajed for his work on this important project. He managed to capture the resilience exhibited by the East Buffalo community in this brilliant work of art and provide visitors to the William-Emslie Family YMCA with a sense of pride and hope for the future.
The imagery symbolizes the critical role the older generation plays in the lives of our youth. It also displays the responsibility that the young people who use our facility tell us they feel about carrying on the legacy of their elders and building a better future for themselves.
The partnership between the William-Emslie Family YMCA and M&T Bank is meant to bring much-needed educational resources to this neighborhood, helping families of East Buffalo manage their personal and financial health and well-being. We are proud of what this location is doing for the community and are thrilled to be a canvas for this latest addition to Buffalo’s extensive and impressive collection of murals.
The William-Emslie YMCA is located at 585 William Street, Buffalo, New York 14206
In Process Photos