Twas a week and 5 days before Christmas and Santa was making the rounds. If you popped in at the old Gem Space you’d have seen things that would astound. I with my camera, its shutter I clicked to take photos of wonder and a pic of St. Nick.
Speaking of St. Nick, St. Nicks Alliance encouraged and helped to support this special Holiday Fun For All that was the brainchild of the Grand Street BID’s mastermind Artineh Haven. The space was charmed with “Winter’s Magic” as that was the theme of the Window Display Contest whose entrants came from the neighborhood’s schools. There was also puppetry, face painting, and photo ops with Santa.
Many years ago when retail vacancies and abandonment plagued the area’s commercial district St Nicks Alliance organized businesses to form a merchants association. St Nicks Alliance and the The Grand Street BID have remained strategic partners for over thirty years and art was always a part of strategic approach. The Grand Street BID regarded the shuttered GEM space as somewhat of a deterrent to attracting commerce. They came up with the idea of a day of expanding their annual window display contest into a day of Holiday Fun For All, and this event attracted many a passerby to stop in and take a look or even a picture with Santa.
St. Nicks Alliance has plans to develop the old GEM space into affordable housing and commercial space. As the GEM space isn’t scheduled for demolition until the summer of 2015, a series of art exhibitions, activities, and events in collaboration with local businesses will be presented at this space from December 2014 thru July 2015. This will provide an outlet of creativity for Arts@Renaissance, St. Nicks Alliance’s community arts program organization, while they await the construction of their new permanent home.