The 100 Gates Project began in 2014 with Billy Rohan, a New York City artist and professional skateboarder, and was brought to life with help from the Lower East Side Partnership (LESP), a not-for-profit economic development organization. The 100 Gates Project originated in the Lower East Side with an ambitious goal: to paint street art murals on 100 storefront security roll-down gates in the name of community enrichment and beautification.
LESP achieved that goal in 2016 in partnership with Tiger Beer with a mural at the Lower East Side’s iconic Katz’s Delicatessen. Since its inception, the project has expanded to other neighborhoods and boroughs with the completion of over 360 gates citywide. This would not have been possible without the use of creative partnerships such as the award of the 2015 Neighborhood Challenge Grant, which was a joint initiative between the NYC Department of Small Business Services and NYC Economic Development Corporation. In early 2017, the 100 Gates Project was awarded a grant from the 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. In late 2018, further partnerships and a new borough were tapped into with CaribBeing and the Flatbush Junction Business Improvement District in the Little Caribbean neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Now the project is again returning to its roots in the Lower East Side and is seeking to focus its resources on this neighborhood almost exclusively, and is carrying with it the recognition that there is still work to be done where the project began.