Be Kind: Local artists transform outdoor dining areas into works of art

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Wednesday, October 7, 2020
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Lauren Glassberg has a Be Kind story on local artists who are transforming outdoor dining areas into works of art during the pandemic.

TRIBECA, Manhattan (WABC) -- Local artists are driving a grassroots effort to help New York City restaurants hit hard by the pandemic.

As restaurants have spilled onto the sidewalks and streets of New York City to stay in business, Bill Tsapalas saw an opportunity.

"I was just riding my bike through the neighborhood and realizing that some of these really unadorned spaces are really just blank canvases," Tsapalas said.

So he launched Curbside Canvas, teaming up restaurant owners with artists like Susie Carter.

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Carter is painting the flowers of a mural design on the outdoor seating area for Bubby's.

"It's about 75 feet long, very intimidating when I first got here but the restaurant owner Ron, was very excited about it and really encouraged me to go big, so we went big," Carter said.

Ron Silver is not only the owner of Bubby's, he's also an artist.

"I'd call it community acting like a community and having fun doing it, it's really not about business it's about community 100%," Silver said. "I've been in Tribeca for 24 years, I've been imbedded in this neighborhood I love this neighborhood and part of the neighborhood that's key for me is the restaurants and the arts. And this project gives restaurants and artists a boost."

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Since funds are hard to come by right now, there's a bartering system taking place.

Restaurants provide food for the artists, the artists provide their talents, and residents can contribute to pay for supplies.

So far 13 restaurants in Tribeca are participating.

"This made me feel like I could contribute to my neighborhood during a really hard time of COVID, and for me I can look back and say I did something to help my neighborhood and Curbside Canvas is expanding to Park Slope next," Tsapalas said.

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