Nonprofit Opens an Art Gallery and Theater in Vacant Storefront


Photo via New Visions.

What to do with all these vacant storefronts? How about turning them into art spaces?

A one-room storefront on Columbus Avenue has been transformed into a “salon” that will host art shows and theater performances. The space, dubbed North of History, is opening at 445 Columbus Avenue near 81st Street, the former home of Ellen’s Couture.

It’s run by a nonprofit called New Vision headed by architect Gene Kaufman. “Due to rising real estate prices and business licensing obstacles, maintaining an art space in New York City is increasingly difficult – even though the art itself is alive and well,” said Kaufman in a statement. “As a result, we must expand the definition of ‘gallery’, ‘concert venue’, and other terms in an effort to fully integrate the arts into neighborhoods across the city.”

The gallery is 1,000 square feet, with track lighting, and a black-stained floor.


Photo by Terry from last week.

It briefly held a pop-up artisans market in December and will open a group art show on Wednesday night. Starting February 15, a theater production called “Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters’ First 100 Years” will take over the space through March 4. “As the inaugural theater production of North of History, the play is a tour-de-force for two black actresses who play two centenarian sisters: Sadie Delaney, a retired teacher, age 103, and her kid sister, Bessie Delaney, a retired dentist, age 101. Edgar Chisholm directs.”

ART, NEWS | 10 comments | permalink
    1. Paul says:

      How do you get your art exhibited one this or other similar sites?

    2. Chrigid says:

      Just fill those empty storefronts with art and artists’ studios and this neighborhood will take off like a bat out of hell–restaurants, bars, boutiques, whatever it takes to serve a gallery-hopping crowd. The galleries/studios would not need upscale environments, as above: just water, electricity, HVAC, and elemental safety. Plenty of artist groups would be happy to pick up the basic charges and agree to disappear when the landlord finds a profitable tenant.

    3. Heidi Boyson says:

      Great idea! Such a creative solution!

    4. Fleur Palau says:

      Would love to exhibit there! Any chance they are looking for artists?

    5. Sheila says:

      I love it. How do I get on their email list?

    6. Rebecca Cook says:

      Berlin is full of pop-ups.

    7. I would love to show you my portfolio.

    8. Edith says:

      Cool! I’ll have to check it out