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Boarded Storefronts Give Rise to Powerful Art on Broadway

Over the past month, two groups organized by local artists, Art 2 Heart and SoHo Social Impact, have brought hundreds of artists to paint on plywood-boarded storefronts across SoHo. In addition, many artists not affiliated with either group have arrived to make the most of this rare moment.

Over the weekend of June 20th, Art 2 Heart gathered dozens of artists to apply temporary murals and other work to still-boarded storefronts throughout SoHo, including along Broadway. In a press release, the group shared what they hoped to accomplish during this brief moment in the neighborhood prior to the Phase 2 reopening of New York City in the midst of ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, sharing: “If there ever was a moment for artists to express themselves it is now.

During the neighborhood-wide painting action on June 20th, Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Brad Hoylman, and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s Chief of Staff Erik Bottcher visited SoHo Broadway, where they toured the neighborhood, met with artists, and held a press conference. The event brought out a variety of artists to the neighborhood—SoHo-based and from other parts of the city and region; old and young—and the work they produced was a mix of aesthetic and political, but all of it of these times.

The Initiative is reaching out to property owners and retailers in an attempt to retrieve as many of the boards as possible from along Broadway between Houston and Canal before they are discarded as storefronts remove them. We are making arrangements to store boards so that they can be returned to artists (or allow the Initiative to store the board on a short term basis until plans can be determined by the artist). Unfortunately, a few of these painted boards were lost as stores have been rapidly reopening—some taken away by contractors, with others possibly stolen. These works are powerful and timely pieces and we would like to ensure they can be returned to the artists who created them. Please help us locate missing artwork. If you have any information on these pieces, please contact us at info@sohobroadway.org or 212-390-1131.

Please find below a selection of some of the works that arose on Broadway for this moment in time.

Unknown Artists, Calicho Arevallo
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