Ed Lederman
Living Artfully in SoHo

An Original Artists’ Community, Soho Continues to be a
Source of Creativity and Inspiration Today.

By Nikki Cohen

SoHo is the original artists’ neighborhood. Starting in the 1970s, artists flocked to SoHo for spacious studio lofts, making it the epicenter of the avant-garde art world. SoHo became known as the premiere gallery district with influential dealers such as Leo Castelli and Mary Boone settling on West Broadway. This sense of artistic community and creativity continues in SoHo today. Where but on the corner of Prince and Broadway can one walk down the street and step on a sidewalk carved by Keith Haring?

Soho’s alternative art spaces are a highlight of the neighborhood. Artists Space (38 Greene Street) is an authentic artistic haven that fosters emerging talent and provides a venue for unique performances. Many of New York City’s most dynamic arts institutions reside in old factory buildings in SoHo. The Drawing Center (35 Wooster Street) is one of New York’s preeminent small museums. As the name suggests, the Drawing Center features first-rate exhibitions devoted to drawings and works on paper. They also offer public programming including artists lectures and their annual Big Draw celebration where everyone has the opportunity to become an artist.

By heading east towards the Bowery, one can easily walk to the New Museum (235 Bowery), the top art institution in New York for cutting-edge exhibitions. The strikingly modern building, designed by the 2010 Pritzer prize-winning SANAA architects, is a marvel in itself. Moreover, the New Museum provides unprecedented programming, featuring a wide array of American and international contemporary artists with a focus on innovation.

There are also many venues to experience all kinds of cultural activities in SoHo. The Angelika Film Center (18 West Houston) is the ultimate art house cinema destination. Showing independent movies all year round, the Angelika offers films that are often not playing anywhere else. It is also one of the best theaters to attend during the acclaimed Tribeca Film Festival.

Similarly, The Joyce SoHo (155 Mercer) provides an intimate venue for modern and contemporary dance. Housed in a former firehouse, it features choreographers from around the globe and many world premiere performances.

While SoHo offers a range of cultural experiences, the neighborhood is most famous for its venerable galleries like OK Harris (383 West Broadway) and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts (31 Mercer Street). These, and other galleries, often offer group shows that include works by important artists like Joseph Beuys and Andy Warhol. Younger galleries have cropped up in SoHo as well, including TEAM Gallery (83 Greene Street), which represents contemporary art world favorites such as Ryan McGinley and Banks Violette. One of the most notable galleries in SoHo, Deitch Projects, represented celebrated artists like Kehinde Wiley and Shepard Fairey. Jeffrey Deitch supported young street artists and created a fresh and vibrant spirit at his gallery. While Mr. Deitch had to close his gallery this month to accept a position as Director of MOCA in Los Angeles, it is rumored that his protégé Kathy Grayson is considering opening her own space on Wooster Street. News of this particularly young, hip gallery will certainly keep the cutting-edge art scene in SoHo alive.

The art scene is SoHo is constantly evolving. SoHo is where the New York art world began and now it is a dynamic neighborhood shaped by the artists and gallerists who first lived there. The neighborhood offers all different kinds of cultural experiences just by walking through the cobblestone streets. SoHo is the original artists’ community and continues to be a source of creativity and inspiration today.

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