Local Artist Beautifies a Boarded-Up Storefront


Elyssa Dorf (left) and her mother Pat Kohlhagen in front of the store. Photo by Twilla Duncan.

The Pottery Barn on Broadway and 67th Street boarded up its storefront ahead of the election, and one resident figured she’d try to make the storefront look a little less imposing.

Artist Elyssa Dorf, who lives around the corner from the store, asked the manager if she could paint something on the boards.

“I am a graphic designer and artist and I live on the upper west side,” she told us. “After walking by Pottery Barn’s boarded up windows every day I finally got the guts to go in and ask the store manager to let me paint up the boarded windows. It took a couple levels of approval, all the way up to the CEO level. However I was approved to paint as long as I provided my own supplies and stuck within their theme of ‘gnomes’ for the festive season. It was a volunteer experience, but so worth it to see how much happier it has made myself and my neighbors.”

ART | 17 comments | permalink
    1. Harriet Flehinger says:

      What a wonderful idea. Thank you. Are there other artists who will come forward. If someone will start a 501-c3 to pay these artists a stipend for this service, I will happily make a donation. I have no idea how to set it up. Perhaps it could grow Citywide like One Block UWS was formed and has grown. Employ artists AND beautify the storefronts.

    2. Joan says:

      Nice job! Brightens up the neighborhood.

    3. Peeps88 says:

      Looks sweet!
      Thank you for adding to the vitality and color of the neighborhood.

    4. uwsmom says:

      We live above Pottery Barn and the gnomes have put a smile on our faces! You could definitely make a business of this!

    5. Peter says:

      Great. I only hope the Pottery Barn appreciate her effort and compensates her for it.

    6. Peter says:

      Great. I only hope that Pottery Barn appreciates her effort and compensates her for her effort.

    7. W68R says:

      Walked by with my young kid’s and loved it! that’s really cute! Bummed they didn’t pay you but hopefully will come back to you – karma!
      Thanks for cheering up the block. Peace, love, and
      Be well!

    8. Robin says:

      Many thanks Elyssa
      Great work!
      And a welcome addition to the unsightly and depressing boarded-up storefronts.

    9. Barbara B. says:

      Love your idea and lovr the painting!

    10. Mary says:

      What a ray of sunshine. It’s charmingly
      rendered, and I for one welcome it to the
      neighborhood!

    11. Matt G says:

      I was watching them paint the other day and assumed from both the theme and the quality, that it was an intentional and professional effort by Pottery Barn. I am thrilled to know it was done by a local artist. Brava!

    12. Ella says:

      I do not understand why they haven’t removed the boarding. But I absolutely love what the artist did.

    13. bloomy says:

      Thank you!

    14. Susan says:

      GREAT WORK and, a beautiful idea. Pottery Barn and the entire neighborhood was lucky.

    15. Antonia says:

      What an improvement! Last time I passed it almost looked closed. It will bring them lots of business. They should pay her!!!

    16. If you could post the artist’s Venmo, I bet some neighbors would send her some cash as a thank you

    17. Tara says:

      Beautiful and so well done! I wish the UWS would hire you to beautiful the whole neighborhood, Elyssa!