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Elias Saifan talks about what he is thinking of painting on the north wall of Canal Side Inn.

by Dave Warner

The north side of the building that houses Canal Side Inn is about to get a makeover that includes an electric awning, a deck, fencing, outdoor seating, umbrellas, and a more than 670 square foot mural on the side of the building.

The idea came about when David Casullo and Neil Rosenbaum, owners of the restaurant approached Elias Saifan, who has the Art Door Gallery just down from them.

Saifan said, “they needed a hand to help move this oven, and afterward, they asked me if I had a minute, and if I would check out the side of the building.”

He said that they had thought that a gigantic mural on the side of the building would be a great idea.

“For me, I love working on big, I love working on huge mega canvases, so when I saw the wall I’m like, oh my God. It’s a beautiful antiqued brick wall. I could immediately see something dynamic. Since it’s a tiny little neighborhood here, but beautiful in every way, I could see something that has like a depth of field on the wall,” he stated.

Rosenbaum said, “I think the people who are going to be successful through this pandemic are the ones that are willing to be creative. One of the things we said was that it is probably going to be some time before everyone is comfortable going inside a restaurant.”

So, they started working with the city to put outdoor dining on the north side of the restaurant.

“We have a couple of tables outside, but having extensive outdoor dining is what we were thinking about. When we stood there looking at the building and that wall that faces the bridge, Main St and Route 5, we thought this is the first view that people get when they come into Canal Place,” Rosenbaum stated.

“We asked Eli if he had ever done a mural and that led to ongoing conversations and his desire to do something with us. He did a number of studies of some different treatments that he could do on the side of the building and we got very excited by it. We think it will really enhance the Canal Place experience,” he said.

When they got into it, they found out that the project would probably take a month, and that the materials were pretty expensive. “The expenses are somewhat of a hurdle so we thought that the community and the people that visit here and love Little Falls and Canal Place might help support the effort,” Rosenbaum said.

They have come up with the idea of creating a Go Fund Me page to raise the money necessary to complete the mural project.

Rosenbaum said, “you hear great stories of communities that raise money to help a small movie theater go from film to digital, or saving certain types of businesses or helping people. Eli is dedicated to keeping his business here and has done a lot of great things for the community and we’d love to see  him get the recognition for it.”

Saifan said that he wants the mural to be something that when viewed from afar, is inviting – something that draws you down to Canal Place. “It’s the first time that I’ve ever done a Go Fund Me campaign, but I suppose that it seems natural and makes sense. It’s a public art piece, so everyone is going to benefit from it.”

He is hopeful that people will really get into it and support the project. “In Bushwick, it’s like an outdoor museum now. People come from all over the world just to tour and see the murals. It would be awesome to have a mural that would kind of generate the energy of an art movement here.”