James & Karla Murray Launch Kickstarter For “Mom & Pops” Seward Park Installation

Renderings courtesy of James & karla Murray.

Renderings courtesy of James & karla Murray.

Back in February, we told you about a new installation in Seward Park from the local photographers James & Karla Murray.  It’s part of the Art in the Parks UNIQLO Park Expressions Grant Program.

“Mom & Pops of the L.E.S.” is a “rectangular wood-frame sculpture consisting of near life-size photographs” of four independent neighborhood businesses, most of which no longer exist. James & Karla will begin installing the sculpture next month on a parcel in the southwest corner of the park. It will be up for a full year.

Because the project, including fabrication of prints that will hold up during the harsh winter months, is so expensive, the Murrays have launched a Kickstarter. Here’s more from their pitch:

Each of these four shops… a bodega, a coffee shop/luncheonette, a delicatessen, and a newsstand represent small businesses that were common in the Lower East Side and helped bring the community together through people’s daily interactions.When viewing the near life-size photographs one can get a visceral sense of the impact of these losses on the community and on those who once depended on the shops that are now gone. The installation is an artistic intervention and a plea for recognition of the unique and irreplaceable contribution made to New York by small, often family-owned businesses. These neighborhood stores help set the pulse, life, and texture of their communities.

The fundraising goal is relatively modest: $3,250. The deadline is June 19. Here’s the link to the Kickstarter campaign. There’s also a special Instagram for the project.

1/10th scale miniature of "Mom-and-Pops of the L.E.S."

1/10th scale miniature of “Mom-and-Pops of the L.E.S.”

Learn to Document New York’s Mom-and Pop Stores With James & Karla Murray

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The local photographers, James & Karla Murray, have used their creative talents to help raise awareness of New York City’s endangered mom-and-pop stores. In free workshops scheduled this spring and summer, they’ll be showing the rest of us how to use a camera and keyboard to become community advocates.

Here’s more about their upcoming project:

Capturing the Faces and Voices of Manhattan’s Neighborhood Storefronts is a photography and oral history workshop of the cultural significance of mom-and-pop stores and the impact they have on the pulse, life, and texture of their communities. There will be two separate 2-session free workshops held at the Neighborhood Preservation Center in the East Village culminating in an exhibition of each participant’s work at The Little Underground Gallery at the Jefferson Market Library in Greenwich Village from August 1 – October 1, 2018. The workshops teach how photography and oral history can be tools for public awareness and advocacy. Participants will learn to create their own powerful photographs of neighborhood storefronts as well as record oral histories with shop owners, which communicate artistically and are insightful and moving. Taught by acclaimed photographers and best-selling authors Karla and James Murray. Space is limited to 35 participants per 2-session workshop (70 participants total).

The workshops are free, but advance registration is required. Click here for more details and to sign up.

Karla and James Murray, East Village residents, published Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York (2008), an award-winning photo book. Other titles from the husband and wife team include: New York NightsStore Front II- A History Preserved and Broken Windows-Graffiti NYC.

As we reported last month, they have a new exhibition coming to Seward Park during the summer.

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Capturing Vanishing LES Storefronts With James & Karla Murray

Katz's Deli photo by Karla and James Murray.

Katz’s Deli photo by Karla and James Murray.

James & Karla Murray, local photographers dedicated to the preservation of NYC storefronts, are preparing to host a workshop series this spring and summer.

It’s called, Capturing the Faces and Voices of the Lower East Side’s Disappearing Mom-and-Pop Storefronts. The free events at the Neighborhood Preservation Center will be focused on the, “cultural significance of mom-and-pop stores and the impact they have on the pulse, life, and texture of their communities.”  Participants will have their work showcased in the gallery of the Theater for the New City in August and September.  More from the Eventbrite listing:

The workshops teach how photography and oral history can be tools for public awareness and advocacy. Participants will learn to create their own powerful photographs of neighborhood storefronts as well as record oral histories with shop owners, which communicate artistically and are insightful and moving.

The first set of workshops is already booked, but there are still slots available for the second set (May 1 and June 5). You must RSVP to attend. More info here.

Karla and James Murray, East Village residents, published Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York (2008), an award-winning photo book. Other titles from the husband and wife team include: New York NightsStore Front II- A History Preserved and Broken Windows-Graffiti NYC.

The Difference a Decade Makes: Grand & Essex Streets

Kossar's, 367 Grand Street. Photo used with the permission of James & Karla Murray, "Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York.

Kossar’s, 367 Grand Street. Photo used with the permission of James & Karla Murray, “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York.

The Lower East Side is, obviously, constantly changing, and it seems as though the changes are coming faster than ever. But sometimes those of us who walk the streets of the LES every day don’t notice the stark transformation taking place in the old neighborhood. So this blog post from James and Karla Murray, authors of the indispensable book, “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York,” caught our eye.

The book came out four years ago, but they began documenting the city’s changing store fronts back in 2001.  Recently, James and Karla took a stroll down Grand and Essex streets, checking out what businesses had closed or moved in the past decade, and they compared the new and old photos.  Have a look at what they found.