What role can art play in empty retail?

photo credit: Jean Oei

Mass Ave certainly isn’t alone in its emptiness. Cities and towns across the country are struggling to make sense of a rapidly shifting cityscape filled with vacant storefronts. One trend that I love is filling the empty storefronts with temporary art installations, pop up galleries, and dance studios. Once again, art steps in to fill the vacuum that failed commerce leaves behind. It might not be a permanent solution, but temporary art installations can fill a cultural void and bring much needed energy and dollars to neighborhoods.

One case in point is an installation done by my old friend from my bike messenger days, Ted Riederer. Ted and 40 other artists created a mock record store called Never Records in the empty shell of an old Tower Records in Williamsburg, NY. Read all about Never and about the role of art in empty space in this article from the Wall Street Journal.

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One response to “What role can art play in empty retail?

  1. I found this blog while looking for space in Central Square. That’s right, we want to move into that area. We are quite successful in Brighton Center but would just love to open a BBQ & Blues place in Central. Our biggest concern is that since none of the spaces available have been a restaurant/live music venue, we will be starting from scratch with the city. While opening our Brighton Center location, we were almost bankrupted by the red tape in Boston, and our location was a restaurant before. I would love to connect with neighborhood groups and city officials to see if there is a way to work this out. Anyone have an idea?

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