Brand Engagement At The Gates Of The World’s Largest Open-Air Gallery
Tiger Beer and a neighborhood-minded nonprofit celebrate and promote New York's creative spirit by beautifying 100 security gates
100 roll-down security gates stood between skateboarder Billy Rohan and his vision of creating the world’s largest open air, outdoor art gallery. Well, more like mountain ranges of likely city permits, untold rounds of fundraising, and the recruitment of dozens of muralists stood in his way, but visions have a habit of taking on a personification that can be stripped down to its basest elements. And so, Rohan approached the Lower East Side Partnership, a nonprofit that backs LES small businesses through a variety of services and programs, to help beautify a century of gated facades for the 100 GATES Project.
Starting in Summer 2014, 100 GATES went on bedeck local coffee shops, ice cream and tattoo parlors, community centers and more only to eventually find itself 20 murals shy of accomplishing its name-stated mission. Long a proponent and patron of street culture, Singaporean beer brand Tiger Beer decided to lend support in the completion of the last fifth of the art-bejeweled gates.
100 GATES is public art at its boldest, brightest and most bound to community. Sure, the brand-weary will decry this as just another example of New York City’s mounting coziness to money and the selling off of its culture to the highest bidder but there’s room for another interpretation. 100 GATES is a civic platform, artistic vision, and yes, a brand activation, but it’s also a representative model for multi-entity partnerships that is as colorful and inviting as the project’s painted walls. For one, 100 GATES is a far-reaching and inclusive canvas for artists. It also happens to be a promotional tool for business owners in a retail-rich setting like NYC, a partnership opportunity for a company who sees its brand ethos illustrated in community-enriching initiatives and that hopes to give back beyond shareholders and profit margins, and, most importantly, a way for residents of a neighborhood to re-engage and reframe the districts in which they live. Lastly, it can also be a launchpad for greater community engagement.
To celebrate the ‘raising’ of the 100th gate by artist L’Amour Supreme, for instance, 100 GATES, LES Partnership, and Tiger Beer threw a spirited soiree at the iconic LES spot Katz’s Delicatessen, which itself served as gate No. 100.
Since then, Katz’s owner Jake Dell has initiated an artist-in-residency program, called Katz & Dogz, to ensure the continued beautification of New York’s Lower East Side.
Up-and-coming and established artists can submit their artwork to the establishment for a chance to design and install artwork on the Ludlow Street side (precisely where L’Amour Supreme left behind his 100th Gate) of the deli. Every three months, the restaurant will rotate out the muralled pieces in hopes of being able to provide promotional opportunities for a rotating cadre of artists.
Below, one can find a brief collection of the 100 GATES.
The full list and locations of the gates can be found on the Foursquare-curated The 100 GATES Project Walking Tour.