Artists turning restaurants’ outdoor dining spaces into works of art

Alexandra Alvarez

NEW YORK – It is a splash of color onto an industry that’s suffered immeasurable darkness this past year.

“For me, being from another country and being able to do something special for the city, I really think it’s great,” said artist Alexandra Alvarez.

Alvarez moved to New York City from Venezuela in 2015 and feels inspired to give back to the city. Alvarez is now one of the dozens of artists volunteering with the Neighborhood Curbside Canvas Project as a way to support the restaurant industry, which has suffered so much during the pandemic.

Pandemic and now cold weather batter NYC restaurants

“One of the things we struggled with was how to set ourselves apart from other restaurants and having a nice decor for our space I think will actually bring people in,” said Matthew Post.

Post owns Javelina Tex-Mex restaurant in Gramercy, where Alexandra is painting now. Curbside Canvas pairs volunteer artists with restaurants that could use some color on their exteriors. It’s a hopeful attempt to bring in more foot traffic during the colder months.

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The Grey Dog in Union Square is another spot recently transformed.

“They are all different, and that’s the beauty of it because every artist is different, we are giving them a forum to show some of their work and it’s a delight to be able to help with the restaurants and artists during this period,” said Bill Tsapalas, Curbside Canvas’ director.

So far, Curbside Cavas has connected artists to twenty restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Hoboken, New Jersey and Astoria, Queens can expect some restaurant revamping in the coming months.