Our past blog posts have mentioned and reflected on the closed-off nature of the high-market art scene. Between high-brow gallery openings and multi-million dollar under-the-table sales, many potential audiences lack an entrance point into the seemingly exclusive artistic communities of many major cities. However, certain galleries in New York are reaching into different neighborhoods – ones lacking high-end visual arts galleries – to shake up the entire city’s art scene.
In the latest of a string of big-name gallery moves, Broadway 1602 has announced its relocation to a former fire station and its adjacent warehouse in Harlem. Just as the gallery was a pioneer when it opened in the Flower District, it is one of the few established spaces to relocate to the “on-the-rise” neighborhood. Last year, Gavin Brown announced a similar move to spacious three-floor space. And just a couple weeks ago, Elizabeth Dee Gallery disclosed plans for a move into a two-story Harlem space this May.
With multiple galleries reaching into the Harlem neighborhood, a new demographic will benefit from their presence. While Harlem residents may have been disinterested in, intimidated by, or unaware of the galleries before their introduction to the neighborhood, the proximity in which they will find themselves to great art could change their relationship with the broader artistic scope of New York City. Harlem is known to have a strong creative and artistic pulse, so the addition of these new visual art spaces will only strengthen that and expose residents to art that, until now, existed outside their immediate reach.
Interestingly, too, this sort of change in New York’s art scene will bring the galleries’ existing clients, dealers, and visitors into a new neighborhood. As a result, they will be exposed to a different creative community than they may find in a stereotypical, more buttoned-up New York gallery space. The relocations, then, create a two-way entry point. For Harlem dwellers, they can more easily access big-name galleries and their work. Neighborhood outsiders, on the other hand, gain entry into a new artistic community that is not as often represented in the stereotypical gallery circuit.