Bold and dramatic murals painted by some of the world's most acclaimed street artists are adding color to neighborhoods across lower Manhattan, part of a unique festival celebrating an art form that began here in New York. NY1’s Roger Clark filed the following report.
Above an abandoned parking lot on Mulberry Street in Little Italy are the temper tots - the work of Artist Ron English. The murals are just some of the surprises inside.
"We're trying to change the minds of people that have that 1970s or 80s perception of what street art is," said Wayne Rada, founder of Lower Manhattan Art Festival.
The parking lot sculpture garden is part of the Lower Manhattan Art Festival, which runs through Sunday. Rada started it as an expansion of his Little Italy Street Art project, which has been responsible for putting up murals on Mulberry Street for the past three years.
"We still wanted to get out there and put up a bunch of cool art all throughout Lower Manhattan, because people have their lives all throughout downtown," Rada said.
The festival includes panel discussions, film, music and of course, art. Ray, who likes to remain anonymous, showed NY1 the clubhouse for the Sticker Social Club, where kids of all ages can do their own variations of street art.
"This type of art is great, because I think it's interactive, it's on the street, it's accessible, but we present a way for people to get involved," Ray said.
Artist Hanksy is also part of the festival. He prefers to hide his identity too, since some of his work around town is illegal.
"Usually when I am doing work it's in the street at 3 a.m. under the cover of the full moon,” he said. “So it's great to be able to paint and take my time and really think things out."
Wayne Rada says the festival hopes to keep the spirit of downtown alive at a time some feel it is losing its identity as grit gives way to gentrification.
"We're losing some of the charm and some of the character that makes up Lower Manhattan,” he said. “So what LoMan Art Fest is doing is taking a moment to pause and kind of reflect why we come down here; why the cool restaurants are here, why it's cool to live down here and hang out."
You can find murals for the festival from 23rd Street all the way down to the South Street Seaport.
For more information, head to LoManArtFest.org.