Artists and designers turn security gates into street art for colourful New York project

by Kim Megson | 16 Dec 2015

Street artists and New York businesses have joined forces to beautify the city’s Lower East Side using one simple tool: spray paint.

One hundred metal storefront security gates in the Manhattan neighbourhood have become city-sanctioned canvasses for a carefully selected group of graffiti artists, illustrators, graphic designers and abstract painters – including rising stars Shantell Martin, Faust and Mr Stash.

The creators have each been partnered with a local business to develop a unique, site-specific mural for the gates. The only stipulations? No politics, no religion and no nudity.

The project, aptly named 100 Gates, is the brainchild of artist and skater Billy Rohan, who partnered with the New York non-profit Lower East Side Business Improvement District in mid-2014.

A grant of US$30,000 (€27,500, £20,000) was secured in January to pay the artists and fund materials, and 85 gates have been transformed since then. The remaining 15 are set to follow in early 2016.

“It’s been a dream project and has brightened lives in the neighbourhood, no question,” said one of the project’s leaders, Natalie Raben, in an exclusive interview with CLAD.

“It’s all about beautification, creation and community. It’s been a lot of fun to see how the collaborations have panned out. Really, it’s the perfect poster child for a public art programme.”

Raben added that the project could be easily replicated elsewhere: “We hope we’ve created a platform to take this to the next level. In a way it’s been a pilot project, and if funding can be found, it could absolutely spread to other neighbourhoods like East Village and beyond.”

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Street artists and New York businesses have joined forces to beautify the city’s Lower East Side using one simple tool: spray paint. One hundred metal storefront security gates in the Manhattan neighbourhood have become city-sanctioned canvasses for a carefully selected group of graffiti artists, illustrators, graphic designers and abstract painters – including rising stars Shantell Martin, Faust and Mr Stash. The creators have each been partnered with a local business
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The 100 Gates project aims to beautify the neighbourhood / Nina Loschiavo
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