East Harlem motorists could be driving through an art gallery on 125th Street under a plan to save storefront security gates painted by artist “Franco the Great.”
The Harlem Community Development Corporation is working on a plan to rescue 25 murals that Franco Gaskin painted on the now-banned corrugated steel security barriers along 125th Street and place them inside frames hung between First and Second avenues, creating an outdoor gallery.
“It would become a great tourist attraction. Now there are ramps, grass and trees and nothing to look at,” said Thomas Lunke, director of planning and development for the Harlem Community Development Corporation. “It extends the cultural corridor of 125th Street to the East side and adds another area of activity with the future extension of Harlem River Park.
Gaskin, 83, began painting over the gates because he said they made Harlem look like a “prison camp.” Store owners installed the gates after the riots following the death of Martin Luther King Jr.
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