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Bowery murals down but not out; Howl! gallery to hang plywood art

Blooming out of the unrest and looting that rocked Downtown, the Bringing Back Bowery street murals were hot property. So hot, in fact, that art thieves stole a few of them right off the sides of buildings.

Luckily, though, most of the artworks were saved, and have been taken down for safekeeping. Now, what was a “free outdoor exhibition” is getting its own indoor gallery exhibition.

The show will be on view at Howl! Happening, at 6 E. First St., between Bowery and Second Ave., from Thurs., Aug. 13, through Sun., Aug. 23, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

After the tragic death of George Floyd, impassioned citizens in cities around the world rose up together in a call for justice. Opportunistic agitators and looters, however, took advantage of peaceful demonstrations and forced many businesses to board up storefronts all over New York City.

On the Bowery, a neighborhood with the reputation of creating beauty out of strife, the plywood barriers became windows into the hearts of the neighborhood’s artists. The barrier-beautifying initiative was organized by local artist Sono Kuwayama.

Sono Kuwayama working on a mural during the Bringing Back Bowery project. (Photo by Bob Krasner)

“Bringing Back Bowery: Public Art as Protest” includes a selection of public artworks made in solidarity with the protest movement fighting for racial equality and police reform. The exhibition includes artworks by Scooter LaForge, Izhar Patkin, Kamila Otcasek, Robert Blodgett and Sono Kuwayama, plus collaborations by James Rubio and Hitomi Nakamura; Pamela Sneed and Gail Thacker; and Maya Edelman, LaForge and Kuwayama.

To ensure visitors’ safety, the gallery will be limiting entry to 10 people at any one time.

Gallerygoers will be required to wear masks, maintain social distancing and register upon entry (providing their name and e-mail address or phone number). Temperatures will be taken at the front door. Those with a fever will not be admitted. RSVP at

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