Vacant Eighth Street Storefront Hosting Kids' Events, Village Art

By Andrea Swalec on March 12, 2013 8:40am 

GREENWICH VILLAGE — A storefront on West Eighth Street near MacDougal Street was home to a bakery just a few months ago, but these days painter Gwyneth Leech uses the space to make intricate designs on used paper coffee cups.

Leech is one of 10 New Yorkers whose art is on display at 24 W. Eighth St. as part of a gallery show and event series for adults and kids hosted by the Village Alliance and the arts nonprofit No Longer Empty.

The exhibition "Gathering Place" showcases art centered around the Village, co-curator Katherine Gressel said.

"We were inspired by the history of West Eighth Street and were thinking about how it could inspire its future," she said Monday afternoon in the space that was used until December by Apple Cafe Bakery.

Art on display includes a large map by Jennifer Maravillas that uses a color-coding system to show Village art and literary spaces past and present; a video piece by filmmaker Ira Sachs that shows the residences of artists who have died of AIDS in the past 30 years; and 250 paper cups-turned-canvases by Leech, which are for sale for $300 each.

For kids, the pop-up gallery offers a lending library of Village-themed books, story time at 1 p.m. on Sundays, and a West Eighth Street scavenger hunt for kids of all ages Sunday, March 17, at 2 p.m.

William Kelley, executive director of the Village Alliance, said the pop-up gallery is an apt accompaniment for the new businesses coming to West Eighth Street, including an outpost of Stumptown Coffee.

"We are seeing a shift on Eighth Street toward more artisanal goods and food products," he said in a statement. "With 12 new leases signed over the past few months, the future is bright for Greenwich Village’s original main street."

"Gathering Place" is on display from Friday through Monday 1 to 7 p.m. through Saturday, March 23.

The storefront won't be without a business tenant for long, though. Buchbinder & Warren Realty Group broker Bill Abramson, who represents the building owner, said a "fast casual" restaurant is in talks to take over the space.

"This is going to be a fantastic year for West Eighth Street," he said. 

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