Back during the days of the old normal, the sidewalks along Soho's retail artery—Broadway between Houston and Canal Streets—would be packed with shoppers making their way through mid-price chain stores and high-fashion outlets. But like New York generally, the once bustling scene has been stilled by the lockdown, though one business, Bloomingdales' downtown location between Spring and Broome, has come back to life thanks to a vivid street art mural filling its windows.
The creation of NYC artist Marco Santini, the mural is an example of what you might call a new genre of street art that addresses the current crisis. It also fits within the broader category of civic gestures meant to express New York’s solidarity with its first responders (like, for instance, the Empire State Building's nightly light shows).
Santini's Mural of Appreciation, as he calls it, went up on Earth Day. Starting at 10am, he worked for ten hours straight to put it up. "Coincidentally I finished at 7pm for the applause for essential workers," he told Time Out, adding that "one person walked by and said it was the brightest thing on Broadway. That was awesome."
The work's layout is unquestionably colorful, consisting of shard-like blocks of reds, oranges, greens, blues and purples and more. Each interlocking shape—scribbled over with decorative patterns and encouraging messages—is outlined in black, creating the overall impression of a stained-glass window.
The mural’s jazzy dynamic is the point, Santini notes. "I hope my work serves as a beacon of hope, and that its vibrancy sparks a realization that we can create a future better than the one we left behind."
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