Fourth Arts Block(FAB), a nonprofit arts organization that seeks to enhance the arts and culture of New York City's East 4th Street Cultural District, recently hosted an event called “LES Love Mob” on the Lower East Side. The event was an artist-led walking tour, during which artists guided participants down Clinton Street, sharing stories about four of the local businesses they encountered along the way.
The artists served as ambassadors as they introduced participants to each of the businesses they encountered, including Santo Domingo Bakery, Cibao, Socrates Hair Design, and Rothstein's Hardware. Each artist produced a site-specific art piece that was closely tied to the mission or history of the business. After the tour, participants gathered at local bar Barramundi, where business-owners from the area spoke about their experience on the Lower East Side.
Erin Sweeney, one of the featured artists who led a tour to the Santo Domingo Bakery, devised a performance art Cake Walk that resulted in some attendees leaving with free cake from the bakery. “I wanted to bring visibility to and celebrate the history of Santo Domingo as a business standing strong on the block for decades,” said Sweeney. Artist Kerry Cox recited humorous yet enlightening conversations she had recorded between the barber at Socrates Hair Design and his customers.
“We used art not for the sake of presenting art, but rather as a tool to generate dialogue and build community,” Patrick Jaojoco of FAB said. Jaojoco maintained that the project contributed to the vibrant community that inhabits the area and played a role in local business being recognized as “not just service providers, but also community members and culture producers.”
For more information about the artists and businesses involved with the event, as well as the sponsors who made it all possible, go to the event's Facebook page, and follow FAB on social media to learn about future events.
Photographer: Maria Baranova.