05/29/2011 07:42 am ET | Updated Jul 28, 2011

'After Hours: Murals On The Bowery': Behind Closed Grates

Before there were murals for Art Production Fund's "After Hours: Murals on the Bowery", there were... the shop owners. The project is presented in conjunction with the New Museum as part of their Festival of Ideas for the New City, sponsored by Sotheby's with additional support from The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, but in order to get the murals installed we still needed to convince the shop owners. Mostly long time business people on the Bowery, these shop owners and managers possessed the one thing we wanted: the right to paint on their metal roll down grates. Our objective was clear: to convince them that signing away their grate to be used as a canvas by complete strangers - all for free - was a terrific idea. It took a few trips to collect our required number of locations, but along the way we met some of the most wonderful citizens of our great city. These were the people behind their counters who valued community, who sensed the power of art, and who understood the merit of joining a good cause. We salute all those who said "YES!" Below is a sampling of new friends hosting murals on their site and their thoughts on the project, two weeks in:


Henry Sierra of Blueman Hardware, 153 Bowery: "Of course. I am very happy with how it turned out. It's good advertising. You don't get this every day".


Craig N. Krasner of Daroma Restaurant Equipment, 180 Bowery. "Read my sign. It says stop work, never work - I've lost every employee since that went up." ( he was kidding )


Mark Nourieli of Mark's, 212 Bowery and Regent Restaurant Equipment, 213 Bowery ."I'm always happy to be a part of something that has to do with art"


Avi Cohen and Daniel Cohen of City Restaurant Equipment, 220 Bowery. "It's better than I expected. I love it"


Felix Fung of Simoluxe / The Leader Trading Company , 134 Bowery. "The street was dressed up beautifully. It's nice for us to have a good change like that in the community."


Ron Attias of Attias, 267 Bowery and Cannon Co Inc, 265 Bowery. "At night when I'm walking around on the street I see my beautiful store, it gives the building shape. Can you come to my house and paint my garage door?"