Through bold, bright sidewalk art, an alleyway in Manhattan’s Lower East Side is being reclaimed as a space for creation, recognizing Extra Place’s cultural past and ensuring its artistic future.
Extra Place was a former through-street that once connected East 1st and East 2nd Streets between the Bowery and 2nd Avenue in the East Village. In the 1900s, Extra Place teemed with speakeasies and garages, and from the ‘70s–‘90s it was a hub for activist and feminist organizing, home to the No Wave and punk music scenes and the legendary CBGB music club. With the loss of CBGB and the subsequent closures of most of the surrounding cafes and bars, Extra Place has been completely transformed, with building renovations and new luxury condos taking over this formerly gritty back alley.
In recognition of Extra Place’s contribution to the cultural, artistic, and musical identity of the East Village, New York-based artists Jon Burgerman, Ellis Gallagher, and Abe Lincoln Jr. have used the concrete sidewalk as canvas to create “Groundbreak”, a temporary street art installation in Artist Alley @ Extra Place. Through vibrant sidewalk paintings, “Groundbreak” transforms Extra Place into an inviting pedestrian corridor and asserts its presence as a creative hub in the neighborhood.
“Groundbreak” is the inaugural exhibition of the Artist Alley @ Extra Place, a program managed by East Village non-profit Fourth Arts Block. The Artist Alley program seeks to reinvigorate Extra Place as a center for creative exchange through public art installations. Amidst the encroaching gentrification of the East Village, this program sustains the area’s artistic and political identity and supports its right to cultural self-determination.
Photos by fourthartsblock.