Vacant Storefronts Temporarily Transformed into Street-Facing Galleries
The growing number of stores that became vacant during the pandemic sparked a vibrant initiative dubbed “Art on the Ave NYC.” Launched by founder and executive director Barbara Anderson, the initiative conceived in June 2020 by a group of schoolteachers temporarily transforms vacant storefronts into street-facing galleries featuring work by local artists that largely reside within the communities they showcase. Art on the Ave NYC has not only activated the streetscape, it also brings the culture of an art gallery or museum right down to the street; and provides opportunities for featured artists to generate sales from their showcased pieces. Initially establishing the first location on the Upper West Side, the initiative has since expanded to prominent locations such as the Oculus in Lower Manhattan and in Washington Heights. The success of the Manhattan galleries has sparked plans to expand into the outer boroughs.