Downtown walls, if nothing else, start to look great

Lipstick on a pig, indeed — some abandoned construction sites in Downtown are looking a lot cooler these days now that local artists are turning the sites into canvases.

Several blighted, dreary Downtown streets are constantly under some sort of construction — Fulton Mall is just the beginning — but with the three new, artsy upgrades to some ugly construction fences, the Downtown associations seem to be taking on a new motto: If ya can’t build it, redecorate it.

“We’re interpreting the space and beautifying it,” said Laura Manzella who, with her sister Jenn, stroked out a collage of bridge silhouettes, urban landscaping and subway train lines at the Lawrence Street location. “Downtown hasn’t changed much in the past 10 years, but these murals show that there’s [artistic] opportunity everywhere.”

The three murals — located on Lawrence, Bridge and Duffield streets between Willoughby and Fulton streets — are nearing completion, and while they may be a quick-fix scheme to make some unfinished filth look pretty again, the artists said that they’re getting a kick out of it.

It’s all part of the Metrotech Business Improvement District’s campaign to “enliven” the construction sites, much like the art pieces that fill the abandoned, unused storefronts on Willoughby Street near Duffield and Gold streets.

At the Duffield Street site, Jessica Angel’s “Building Codes” depicts an intense cityscape made up of digital symbols that she said, “gives structure to the future building that is growing roots at this location.” The Bridge Street site will be finished within a week, capturing Nelson Rivas’s abstract vision of Downtown and its residents.

Whether the sites will eventually be built out is unclear, but the murals mark a new trend for the BID, in making the Downtown mess look lovely.

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