5 Places In NYC To Find Art Where You Wouldn't Expect It

There’s art all over New York City – and not just in the museums and galleries. From earnest (and sometimes talented) street performers to the private collections hidden from the masses by the insanely wealthy, the efforts of creative minds are everywhere in this city. Between these two extremes lies a category of art known to locals, missed by visitors and loved by cult followings Impromptu art galleries, exhibitions outside the mainstream scene and the creative use of public space subtly shape the street-level Manhattan aesthetic.

Let’s take a look at five exhibit “spaces” you won’t want to miss.

1. Stanton Street Shul
When you reach this Lower East Side synagogue, head straight up to the top floor. MEMORIAL WALL by fine art photographer Ahron Weiner stretches along 35 feet of wall. The exhibition features 60 photos of Eastern European buildings that are “formerly Jewish sites” – significant historically but no longer used for their original purposes. This intense, emotional experience keeps history alive despite decades of change.

2. 25CPW
Once a vacant retail space at 25 Central Park West, this spot has become an art gallery for a rotating series of shows that include photographic, installation and performance art. The next show, REVIVAL, is set to open November 19, 2010.

3. Roger Smith Hotel
There are art hotels, and there are (obviously) hotels with art. Nothing, however, compares to the commitment demonstrated by the Roger Smith Hotel. In addition to displaying the interactive iheart exhibit, the hotel has hosted what can only be described as 20-first century salons, one with ArtWeLove, involving artists and other unique minds. If you need to step out for a smoke, the rooftop bar is a great place to do it and there are blankets there to keep you warm!).

4. Home(s)
The art market is picking up from the depths it probed following the 2008 financial crisis and ensuing recession. We still have a stretch of road in front of us before we reach 2007 levels, but at least there’s some action. This has spread to the emerging artist market, as well. Keep your ear to the ground for private exhibitions, especially for artists who have hit investment grade (such as Ben Krell) thanks to strong personal followings.

5. The Streets
When in doubt, look around. There’s always something happening on the streets of Manhattan, and the scale of these efforts varies – from the dancers who can be seen evenings on Columbus Circle to the likes of painter Nelson Diaz’s walking display of the “Isolated Christ.”

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