Outdoor Cylindrical Gallery on West 83rd Offers Paintings of Locals Doing Acts of Kindness

Audrey Banks, on 83rd and Broadway.

By Lisa Kava

An art exhibit entitled “The Art of Kindness,” which was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, is currently on view at the West 83rd Street “Cylindrical Art Gallery” on Broadway and 83rd Street. The exhibit includes 10 paintings by artist Audrey Banks, which reflect stories about “acts of kindness” submitted by Upper West Siders.

The West 83rd Street Kiosk, built in 1970 by a member of the West 83rd Street Block Association, was originally utilized to post community news and notices. When those type of posts became outdated because of modern technology, G. Lynas, a local artist and sand sculptor who goes by the name “Lynas,” adopted the kiosk and turned it into a unique outdoor art gallery. Lynas, whose art studio window overlooks the kiosk, has worked to repair it from weather and traffic related damage over the years. With contacts in the art world, Lynas is often approached by artists who wish to display their work, he told West Side Rag.

Lynas collaborates with each artist on exhibit installations. “I wrap the kiosk with acrylic to protect the work from weather and then mount the paintings with clear tape,” he explained. Each exhibit remains on the kiosk for three months and Banks is the 11th artist to display according to Lynas.

G. Lynas at the kiosk.

In February 2020, Banks collected stories from locals which she then turned into paintings. Banks and Lynas had planned to exhibit “The Art of Kindness” in March, but the onset of the pandemic put the plan on pause.

I left the city as soon as it went on lockdown,” said Banks. “There was such panic at the time and nobody was going to be paying attention to a new art show.” Instead, the previous exhibit “The Lost Synagogues of Europe,” by Andrea Strongwater, remained on the kiosk through the end of May, Lynas reported.

After two subsequent exhibits (“Subway Drawings” by Jason Scott Jones and “Sandsong” by Lynas) Banks and Lynas were finally able to coordinate with each other to install “The Art of Kindness” on December 2nd. Each painting has a QR code displayed next to it. Viewers may hold their phone up to the painting, scan the code and automatically read the story behind the painting.

Banks says she wanted to create an exhibit which told stories of locals. “That was my own act of kindness,” she said, in a phone interview. “I find myself attracted to community-based projects that lift up and empower others,” explained Banks.

“Audrey’s exhibit is unique because of the high-tech aspect,” said Lynas. “I really like the theme. We need kindness now more than just about anything.”

Gail Dubov, President of the West 83rd Street Block Association speaks of the West 83rd Street Kiosk with pride. “Our neighborhood is full of creative people who enjoy the arts. Our kiosk is not only a distinctive structure on our corner but offers local artists a chance to exhibit their work.”

According to Dubov, the West 83rd Street Block Association supports each artist with a limited expense stipend. Repairs to the kiosk’s roof (which is currently uneven due to damage from parked trucks) will take place this spring, Dubov said.

“The Art of Kindness” will be on display through the end of February.

ART, NEWS | 7 comments | permalink
    1. Michael Reilly says:

      Way to go Lynas. Great seeing you continue using your gifts for good. I’m sorry to be missing this unique exhibit but thank you WSR for keeping us up to date.

    2. David Smith says:

      That is a wonderfully uplifting idea for an exhibit. Congratulations to Audrey Banks and also to Lynas for his hard work keeping the kiosk in good condition and encouraging the art scene in NYC.

    3. LivableCity says:

      Thank you – how wonderful and community spirited! This will be a destination for a healthy and safe outing. Great way to celebrate the good in a bad year.

    4. Susan Spear says:

      What corner? I do not see it at 83rd and Broadway.

    5. Barbara says:

      Many thanks to Mr Lynas and all the artists who contribute to bringing smiles and joy to our neighborhood

    6. Lisa Goldstein says:

      Congratulations to Audrey Banks and Lynas! It’s an honor to have my essay brought to life in “Annual Birthday Roses for the WTC Victims” – a beautiful tribute to Gordon M. Aamoth, Jr. Thanks so much for doing this act of kindness. Could not have come at a better time!