YIMBY recently told you about some new murals created to spruce up the Essex Street Market. Well, that’s not the only project out there making Manhattan’s Lower East Side a more beautiful place. 100 Gates has been at it for nearly two years.
The program is being run by the Lower East Side Partnership, the local business improvement district. It pairs up businesses with artists who paint the roll-down gates. Some of the works are specific to the business while others are inspired by the business, and some are simply pretty.
The idea is that putting public art on the gates will deter graffiti artists from tagging them. There is some respect for other artists. The artists are given paperwork so that police officers don’t hassle them as if they were just creating graffiti.
100 Gates was initially funded by a $30,000 Neighborhood Challenge grant from the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYC EDC) and the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS). That allowed the painting of about 70 gates. Some businesses have multiple gates and sometimes those gates are painted by multiple artists.
Now, the program is continuing with Tiger Beer as a sponsor, which joined in the spring of 2016 with $20,000. Of course, the goal isn’t to turn the gates into billboards. So, the gates painted with Tiger Beer sponsorship money have a small tiger stenciled on them with the additional hashtag #tigergates.
That’s on top of the overall hashtag #100gatesproject. The program has inspired some businesses to independently paint their gates, and even use the hashtag (though those gates are not being shown here).
The program has been a rousing success, so much that a gallery show was held in the fall. (It’s worth noting that winter makes it difficult to paint the gates.) About 90 gates have been painted so far and the 100th gate should be done by the end of the summer.
“It is thrilling to see and experience the immediate impacts of the 100 GATES Project through these original murals. Working with such a slew of talented artists and seeing the collaborative process take shape with our Lower East Side business owners is beyond rewarding,” Natalie Raben, senior vice president of partnership & public affairs for the Lower East Side Partnership, told YIMBY.
Now, the partnership is looking to see what’s next. The first step is to expand to the rest of Manhattan Community Board 3, which covers the East Village, Lower East Side, Chinatown, and Two Bridges neighborhoods.
“We are also in talks with New York City’s Economic Development Corporation (NYC EDC) on ways to realistically incorporate the 100 GATES Project as an additional option that would be part of their successful Graffiti Free NYC program since the proliferation of these murals acts as a strong deterrent for instances of graffiti,” Raben said. “In fact, according to reports from Graffiti Free NYC, the highest instance of graffiti complaints took place within CB3, so this is an ideal location to pilot the next stage of the 100 GATES Project.”
Eventually, the hope is that this program can be implemented citywide.
Subscribe to the YIMBY newsletter for weekly updates on New York’s top projects