This past November, the Lower East Side BID picked a winner for its “Asphalt Art” competition, a project to enliven the triangle at Division and Canal streets. In the past week, they got the good news that the New York City Department of Transportation has accepted a grant proposal to make the new public art installation a reality.
Lower East Side resident Kim Sillen created the colorful design that will be coming to the eastern end of Division Street. She calls it “Modern Tapestry,” a work that “embraces the eclectic influences that are interwoven on the Lower East Side.” The competition last fall was run through ArtHere, the site that helps facilitate new urban art in overlooked spaces. The design will be installed on a one-thousand square foot section of the triangle, which is closed off to automobile traffic. In the last few years, this particular stretch of Division has become a bit of a hot spot — featuring new restaurants (such as Forgtmenot and Dimes Cafe), as well as transplanted stores (namely Daredevil Tattoo).
Sillen is a local artist and designer, and has been active in other community revitalization projects, including the campaign to revamp Luther Gulick Park on Willett Street. She also happens to be the art director of The Lo-Down’s print magazine.
The BID plans to begin work on the Division Street installation in the spring. The plan is to engage various groups, such as students the New Design High School, to take part in the project. The grant is part of the paARTners track of the DOT’s Urban Art Program.
The Asphalt Art initiative is meant to coincide with another installation on the Delancey Street Plaza, which was delayed last year due to MTA construction. You can read more about the winning entry for that project here.