If you want to see street art, New York is the place to go. The street art there is some of the most vibrant and dynamic in the whole world.
Street art has transformed graffiti, a sign of urban decay, into a dynamic form of art that everyone can enjoy.
NYC street art provokes many emotions and includes everything from powerful political statements to pieces that are edgy, funny and whimsical. There is enough in street art New York to keep you busy for months. You will need to prioritize if you’re on a visit, so here are some places where you can find a concentration of street art NYC.
The Bushwick Collective
Joe Ficalora is a local resident who started the Bushwick Collective as a way to reclaim the neighborhood and deal with some tragic memories. He collaborates with the owners of local buildings and curates street artists to work on the walls.
Brooklyn Unplugged does a two-hour tour of the Bushwick Collective, where you will see some of the works of heavy-hitting street artists, like Pixel Pancho, Blek le Rat, Buff Monster, Stik and Phlegm. Look out for the new ‘boy’ mural that Joe Lorato and Logan Hicks do in Bushwick every year. There are currently around 50 murals and the number is constantly growing. Try to catch the annual mural festival held by the Bushwick Collective. The piece by the street artist, STIK, on the water tower in Bushwick is not his only piece of NYC street art. He also has another abutting the Tenement Museum and a delightful one near Little Italy. Street art saved this street artist from substance abuse and his simple works are very touching.
Take a walk on The High Line in the Chelsea neighborhood, where an old train track has been turned into an elevated green space. Views of the city are stunning and there are countless pieces of street art scattered along the Highline Walk. Highline Art commissions street artists from all over the world. The art pieces change constantly, so there is always a new piece to discover.
Every day at dusk, on the High Line at 14th Street, you can see a rotating selection of video art, including new works and older pieces.
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On the corner of Houston and Bowery is a wall with quite the history. It was made famous in the 1980s by Keith Haring when he painted a large-scale mural on it.
Other artists destroyed his work with their own tags, but he started a movement towards using the wall for street art. World-renowned street artists, including Shepard Fairey, Kenny Schart and RETNA, have since painted murals on this wall.
Try to see the wall during the day and at night because it always changes a bit. It’s an opportunity to take some amazing photos and to use photography editing tools to make the most of them.
Freeman’s Alley is a hidden gem near Chinatown. You may walk straight past if you’re a tourist. This Lower East Side haven for NYC street art was created by local artists. Just walking through this tiny alley, you’ll be overwhelmed by the creativity.
Sticker art touching on subjects like racism, detention of migrant children, feminism and more adorn the walls. Sometimes the best street art comes in the small details and these stickers found in Freeman Alley are goofy, edgy, political and constantly changing. Try out Freeman’s Restaurant while you’re there for some of the best food in New York.
The L.I.S.A. project in NYC teams up with the Merchants Association of Little Italy to commission small murals in select sports in Little Italy, giving the neighborhood a unique appeal.
There’s Audrey Hepburn portrait with a quirky New York twist and many other amazing pieces to see. The L.I.S.A. project offers tours that cover the Lower East Side and Little Italy.
Graffiti tour NYC
If you want to learn more about graffiti, Graff Tours offers graffiti tours NYC lead by artists and graffiti how-to workshops. Walk through the Lower East Side, stopping at notable murals and tags and get insider-information into the graffiti culture.
Graff Tours has taught the art of graffiti to university students and as a team-building exercise to employees of Instagram, Google and Facebook.
The bottom line
Street artists from around the world are being commissioned to create street art within certain neighborhoods in NYC. What used to be considered vandalism has become an accepted art form and is expanding the role of contemporary art. Anything and everything becomes a canvas for street art in New York, from security gates to alleyways and construction trailers. Some of the street art is absolutely jaw-dropping and the best part is that it is accessible to all.
Connie Elser is a renowned academic writer and editor working for online writing services in a senior position. She also works as a student counselor helping college and university level students to cope up with the academic pressure by taking up extra curriculars and spending time outdoors. In her free time, she practices mindfulness, learns reading tarot cards and plays badminton.