Art Beautifies Vacant Storefronts Through Art on the Ave Project

Public art has found a new home on the Upper West Side — in some vacant and occupied storefronts on Columbus Avenue. A project called “Art on the Ave” is now beautifying the avenue, including inside stores that might otherwise look empty and forlorn.

It was started by three teachers — Barbara Anderson, Jackie Graham and Leigh Majer — trying to make sense of the pandemic and the emptiness it had created. They explained the project like this on their website.

“A partnership between artists, storefront owners, and local businesses, Art on the Ave NYC is a socially-distanced gallery walk along Columbus Ave between 68th and 77th streets that spotlights artists from New York around the theme of ‘The Art of Healing.’ Join us now through the end of January for this unforgettable experience.”

It’s aiming to spotlight artists who have historically been underrepresented.

People can also scan codes (they look like the one at right) at the locations to hear more about the work from the artists. And when they scan the code, they may even get shopping discounts.

Art is now being shown in the following spaces. The galleries are empty storefronts where people can see the art from outside (one exception is the Rapid Test Center at 252 Columbus which is occupied). The stores listed have info about the event, special discounts and sometimes show artwork inside or outside.

Gallery Locations:

252 Columbus Ave

280 Columbus Ave

330 Columbus Ave

338 Columbus Ave

O’Shea School Fence

353 Columbus Ave

359 Columbus Ave

Participating Businesses (in order of location on Columbus South to North):

Marine Layer



Outlette NYC

Salon Gabor




Anne & Valentin

Scott J Salon

J&E Hair

Harvest Kitchen

Johnny Was

Black Press Coffee


Really Great Things


A Tempo

AG Jeans

Paper Source

The Shade Store

Da Capo



Shake Shack

And listen to actor Michael Imperioli talking about the project in the clip below:

ART, NEWS | 11 comments | permalink
    1. This is a great idea. Congrats to the stores and store fronts that participated. We can all use some more art in our lives and we don’t have to like everything we see in order to support this initiative. Thank you, sponsors.

    2. Helene says:

      Gee … Michael doesn’t sound like any of his characters. Very good voice-over!

    3. Erica says:

      Thank you! I’ve been admiring the art in the store fronts andove that there is a way to learn more. I love the creative use of empty storefronts.well done.

    4. LAURE MANHEIMER says:

      this is a fantastic idea. thank you!

    5. David Fishman says:

      This Saturday afternoon any (most?) of the artists will be by their displays, as the Art on Ave sponsors will be touring.

    6. David Fishman says:

      That should be “many”, not “any”.

    7. Bob says:

      I think vacant storefronts should be taxed by the city at a higher rate — but turning them into temporary art studios or galleries would provide an exemption.

    8. rteplow says:

      This sounds like another thing, in addition to extended outdoor dining, that should survive the pandemic!

    9. LL says:

      Wait. So does CHRISTOPHER live on the Upper West Side? Love.

      Also. With all the empty storefronts….turning them into galleries Is a great idea

    10. Carole says:

      Lived in Ct. 26 years and visited NY often. Now live in So. Oregon and still am often in touch and always amazed what Beauty, Hope and Goodness the Big Apple always has to offer! KUDOS !