Even as Lower Manhattan has become increasingly filled with luxury condos and scrubbed of its grit, it has retained the legacy and image as a cultural hub. Though many artists who once thrived in downtown have left due to skyrocketing rents and a shrinking stock of available studio and living space, the desire to keep the arts alive there has not withered for some devoted New Yorkers.
Wayne Rada, the founder/curator of the nonprofit L.I.S.A. Project NYC has launched the inaugural LoMan Arts Festival, inviting international mural artists—such as Ron English, Beau Stanton, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, TATS CRU, and Ludo—to create large-scale works around 21 neighborhoods, stretching from 23rd Street down to the South Street Seaport.
Starting August 5, two dozen artists, armed with spray paint cans, have transformed the city’s barren walls into larger-than-life works of art. Ron English’s muscular Pink Temper Tot stands next to her equally brawny green sibling on a wall at 114 Mulberry Street (dedicated to the artist’s kids Zephyr and Mars). On another corner, Faith47’s swan-like birds puff out their feathers as if about to take flight.
“We conceived of this festival as a revitalization of the artistic energy of downtown Manhattan. NYC is such a nexus for art, but these days so many artists are being pushed to the outer boroughs. Following the success of The L.I.S.A project, we wanted to create a larger public arts district and community of support worthy of the city’s thriving art scene,” said Rada in a statement. “Though the events of the festival will only last a few days, the resulting artwork will leave a permanent, and extremely positive, mark on downtown Manhattan’s neighborhoods.”
Through Sunday, the festival will host a variety of programming, including concerts, panels, and podcasts around downtown.