NYC street artists are remaking city on quarantine one mural at a time. Take a look.

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Artists paint on a boarded-up building amid coronavirus closures and protests in the East Village on June 19, 2020, in New York City. Gotham/Getty Images
  • Street artists found new canvases across New York City during the coronavirus lockdown.
  • When restaurants, stores, and museums boarded up their windows, people filled the plywood with words, pictures, and scribbles.
  • Some pieces reflect emotionally charged moments during the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • These photos show what it’s like to walk through the streets of New York City right now, full of murals and messages.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.


Artists in NYC have found an unconventional canvas around the city during the coronavirus pandemic — boarded-up storefronts. In July, The New York Times reported on colourful mural popping up across the city on the plywood covering stores.

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Street art is on display on the boarded-up windows of Sunspel in SoHo on June 20, 2020 in New York City. Gotham/Getty Images

Source: The New York Times


Many businesses boarded up their windows when they closed for the lockdown, Ben Yakas wrote for the Gothamist.

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Street artists are seen working on boarded-up buildings amid coronavirus closures and anti-racism protests in SoHo on June 16, 2020, in New York City. Gotham/Getty Images

Source:

Gothamist


Some looting broke out in May and June amid Black Lives Matter protests in response to the killing of George Floyd in police custody. To protect their stores, more businesses boarded up their windows. It’s unclear if there is any connection between the vandalism and the protests.

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Artists paint on the boarded-up windows of a building in SoHo on June 20, 2020, in New York City. Gotham/Getty Images

Source: Reuters, Business Insider


Defined by the NYPD as marking up property with “intent to damage,” graffiti is illegal.

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Street art featuring the character Bart Simpson is on display in SoHo on June 21, 2020, in New York City. Gotham/Getty Images

Source: NYPD, The New York Times


A street artist named EASY who painted in the 1980s told The Times that today, it feels safer. Back then, people thought graffiti writers in certain neighbourhoods were painting secret messages about endangering others, he said.

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Street art is displayed on a boarded up 7-Eleven store in the East Village on June 19, 2020, in New York City. Gotham/Getty Images

Source: The New York Times


Wearing a mask is normal during the pandemic. This makes it easier for street artists to hide their identity around any potential surveillance cameras, NYT reporter David Gonzalez wrote.

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Street art on boarded-up buildings in the East Village on June 16, 2020, in New York City. Gotham/Getty Images

Source: The New York Times


The NYPD told CNBC that fewer people are complaining about graffiti this year than they were in 2019. Graffiti complaints in 2020 were down 11% as of May 10.

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An artist paints on the boarded-up windows of the Whitney Museum of American Art on June 21, 2020, in New York City. Gotham/Getty Images

Source: CNBC


Some artists in the Bowery neighbourhood told Reuters that they asked businesses for permission to paint on their boards.

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Artists paint a mural on a boarded-up storefront as part of a neighbourhood project in the Bowery neighbourhood of Manhattan in New York City on June 17, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Source: Reuters


A former graffiti artist, Eric Felisbret, told CNBC the art reminds him of the murals that followed September 11, 2001 — intending to spread “harmony instead of discord.”

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An artist paints on a boarded-up building in SoHo on June 20, 2020, in New York City. Gotham/Getty Images

Source: CNBC


Felisbret said that New York’s mostly empty streets were an ideal environment for street artists because they can paint without being seen by many.

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Artists paint on the boarded-up windows of Alo Yoga in SoHo on June 20, 2020, in New York City. Gotham/Getty Images

Source: CNBC