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Art Community Comes Together After Chelsea Gallery District Goes Under Water

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TWC News: Art Community Comes Together After Chelsea Gallery District Goes Under Water
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The Cheslea gallery district suffered severe flooding during the storm and difficulty cleaning up and pumping water out during the blackout. Now affected galleries are doing what they can to asses their losses and re-open. NY1's Stephanie Simon has more.

John Post Lee's Chelsea gallery did not specialize in water colors, but looking around his basement storage area and his gallery the impact of the flood is clear .

Like so many Chelsea galleries with basement storage or that are located on a ground floor, Lee and his colleagues are doing triage on their wet art.

Lee, a member of BravinLee Programs, which runs art galleries in the city, has created a staging area for keeping art until it is at a point where it is relatively dry. Then the art is taken up to his second floor gallery space.

While Lee continues to assess the works individually for insurance purposes, he estimates the damage in Chelsea alone could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate Levin has toured the area and says there is a lot of work to do to rebuild and re-open the galleries, but she's optimistic.

"The great thing about living artists is that they have the capacity to make new work," Levin said.

Despite the extensive damage throughout the gallery district, leaders at BravinLee say there's really been a coming together of the arts community.

"Social media has really played a big part of this," BravinLee Director Meredith Rosenberg said.

After reaching out on Facebook and Twitter many volunteers rushed to help, such as Peter Daverington who is documenting the damaged artwork.

Lee is trying to see the bright side of the situation. He wants to try and see something new in the damaged art.

Before there was a kind of literal way to look at this beautiful drawing of a plane," Lee said. "The water kind of added a very sophisticated ambiguous narrative to it."

BravinLee hopes to reopen next week

To find a listing of resources for artists and cultural organizations, visit the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs' website ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP