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Tired of seeing all the empty storefronts? Locals are working on a plan to turn those windows into space that can be used for creativity. Are you a landlord, do you know a landlord? Read on…

ChaShaMa — a non-profit arts organization dedicated to creating art where you least expect it — is working to rejuvenate empty commercial space in Hell’s Kitchen and around the city.

“The Zodiac Series” by Deming King Harriman in the Project Find windows at the Port Authority on 9th Avenue.

The West Side Storefront Revitalization Initiative plans to bring dynamic art projects and small businesses to enliven vacant spaces along the streets and avenues in the neighborhood. Chashama, which has been running similar projects for over 25 years, enters into a short term license for suitable spaces and covers the property’s insurance requirements.

“It’s a great way for landlords looking for permanent tenants to market their property while vacant. It gives them an edge in this challenging market by increasing traffic to their storefront spaces,” said Rick Rodriguez, who is helping to lead the charge in Hell’s Kitchen. “With the store activated, it’s an incentive to keep the neighborhood clean, accessible, and attractive. It also helps to make the building safe and active for existing tenants living upstairs. Everyone wins!”

“21 Nights of Silly” from Burning Clown Productions at 266 W37th Street.

ChaShaMa was founded in 1995 by Anita Durst to support artists and transform unused real estate into art space. Currently, you can see the work they curate in the Project Find windows at the Port Authority on 9th Avenue with an exhibit called “The Zodiac Series” by Deming King Harriman, and “21 Nights of Silly” from Burning Clown Productions at 266 W37th Street.

There is no shortage of empty storefronts in the area. Last December, we shared a reader’s walk along 9th Avenue documenting vacant stores.

Anyone interested in the project can connect with Rick Rodriguez at rykx@hotmail.com or Anita Durst at anita@chashama.org.

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