BID unveils Arts on the Avenue

Bay Ridge is reaching for a new benchmark.

The Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) debuted its Arts on the Avenue program last week. The program, part of a three-year Avenue NYC grant from the Dept. of Small Business Services, was created last fall to beautify the community and generate business. It was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the early phases of planning for the project, we communicated with the local arts community, who helped us identify potential project ideas and funding sources,” said Michael Devigne, BID program manager. “Our conversations with Jeannine Bardo, who runs the Stand4 Gallery on 78th Street, and John Avelluto, the founder of the former Sidewalk Art Walk and Owl’s Head Wine Bar, provided us with insight about what public art on Fifth Avenue could look like. Other local artists also provided us with inspiration that would help shape our efforts.”

The BID sees Arts on the Avenue as an ongoing initiative that builds on previous projects.

“As our first initiative, we decided to convert a selection of our benches into everyday masterpieces to be enjoyed by the community,” said Devigne.

The BID worked with Nicole Stuart, founder of Building Brooklyn Street Art, to create a roster of artists and help coordinate the effort. Sherwin Williams, 7823 Fifth Ave., donated paint, while State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Councilmember Justin Brannan took part in a sponsorship that provided supplies.

“In the coming weeks and months, we will be posting more info about the artists and a map of bench locations on our website,” said Devigne.

To learn more about Arts on the Avenue, visit

Local artist Alicia Degener painted a “bubble bench” outside of 274 Bay Ridge Parkway.  Photo courtesy of Alicia Degener.

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