The 100 Gates Project began in 2014 with Billy Rohan, a New York City artist and pro skateboarder, and brought to life with help from the Lower East Side Partnership (LESP), a not-for-profit economic development organization.

Before connecting with Natalie Raben, LESP’s Senior Vice President of Partnerships and Public Affairs, Rohan had been pounding the pavement, going door-to-door encouraging LES businesses to allow himself and fellow artist Jessica Blowers to paint their roll-down gates with original murals. Knowing just how limited – and precious – space is in New York City, Rohan wanted to help beautify his community through street art that was accepted and encouraged, on veritable canvasses that would be seen and embraced by both locals and visitors.

Raben helped Rohan fund the public art initiative by taking the idea and cause to the City and applying for a Neighborhood Challenge Grant (a joint initiative between the Department of Small Business Services and NYC Economic Development Corporation). After winning the grant in 2015, the LESP took over formal operations of the program while Rohan kept on his curatorial hat. The next two years were spent forging connections with artists and merchants in the LES….

By the end of 2015, 75 gates now had murals. In 2016, Tiger Beer approached The 100 Gates Project and became a partner in helping the organization reach its goal of 100 gates—which occurred in September 2016, at the LES’s iconic Katz’s Delicatessen.

In early 2017, the 100 Gates Project was awarded a grant from New York City Department of Small Business Service’s Neighborhood 360° program to help support a pilot expansion of this community development initiative—beginning with East Harlem and Downtown Staten Island. Midway through 2017, CouncilMember Debi Rose of Staten Island also allocated additional discretionary funds to help expand the ever-growing project into new neighborhoods within her district.

While the project remains grassroots and dedicated to local communities, it’s an exciting time to expand the project’s presence beyond the Lower East Side—because beautification and community improvement know no bounds.

History

When the 100 Gates Project began in 2014, it began in the Lower East Side.

We had an ambitious goal: to paint street art murals on 100 security roll-down gates in the name of community enrichment and beautification.

We hit that goal in 2016, when we hit the 100 mark with a mural at the LES’s iconic Katz’s Delicatessen.

We’ve spent 2017 expanding our footprint to other neighborhoods and boroughs, but expansion doesn’t mean forgetting about our roots. We’ll continue to connect artists with merchants in LES until there are no more roll-down gates left to paint.

Partners

The Neighborhood 360° Program was launched by the Department of Small Business Services to identify, develop, and launch commercial revitalization projects in partnership with local stakeholders throughout the five boroughs. It supports initiatives such as
The 100 Gates Project, that improve quality of life and conditions for economic growth of New York City neighborhoods, through projects designed to bring communities together via merchant organizing, storefront improvement, supplemental services and commercial corridor marketing.


Team

Natalie Raben

Natalie Raben is the Executive Vice President at the Lower East Side Partnership (LESP) and the Director of the 100 Gates Project, which lives underneath the umbrella of the LESP. She has spearheaded funding and the installation of a number of previous LES public art projects including 400’ banner installations and a major asphalt art mural. Since 2014, Natalie has raised over $250,000 to support free and accessible public art projects in New York City.

Ayana Hosten

Ayana Hosten is the Public Art Coordinator and more affectionately known as “The Gate Lady” to business owners as she serves as the mediator for the project's expansion into East Harlem/El Barrio and the North Shore neighborhoods of Staten Island. She brings her experience in arts education, program management and community engagement to the 100 Gates Team to connect local business owners and members of the creative community together. Highly influenced by her Bronx upbringing, she believes in the transformative power of art.

Billy Rohan

Billy Rohan is a New York City artist and professional athlete who has spent over 20 years in the skateboarding and NYC Arts community. He lived in Geneva, Switzerland and London, England for several years where he filmed skateboarding and worked on projects involving the famous skateboard area at the London south bank art museum.

Press

Great things can happen when like-minded people collaborate.
Interested in adding one more mural to our ever-growing gallery?