Earlier today we were out at the Division/Canal/Ludlow triangle, which is about to become the canvas for the Lower East Side’s latest public art project.
Back in November, local artist Kim Sillen won a community-driven open-call sponsored by the Lower East Side Business Improvement District. Now, thanks to a grant from the Department of Transportation’s urban art program, the plaza transformation is about to get underway. Sillen’s design is called “Modern Tapestry,” a bright cheerful combination of patterns meant “to lift the spirits of passers-by with color and form.” You can see a rendering here.
During a few trial runs, Sillen and Natalie Raben, who’s overseeing the project for the BID, realized that it would be impossible to paint over the DOT’s bright, white traffic lines. So they called in a company called Statewide Striping out of New Jersey. This morning, they resurfaced the plaza, using an advanced polymer cement called Endurablend. According to Cliff Wilson of Statewide, the smooth surface should be ideal for the art installation.
Raben said the work will begin on June 2, as long as DOT approves the permits by that time. Sillen and Company will be painting for about two weeks. The BID is also moving granite blocks for seating into the plaza this week and might add some planters.
Meanwhile another BID art project is making a comeback. Remember the Delancey Street Babel Blocks? That installation had to be delayed due to MTA construction work. That’s now been completed. Raben said it looks like the Babel Blocks will also be going up in the first part of June.