The 100 GATES Project was born in the mind of local artist and pro skateboarder, Billy Rohan, and brought to life by the Lower East Side Partnership (LESP), a not-for-profit economic development organization in New York’s Lower East Side. Billy connected with Natalie Raben, Senior Vice President of Partnerships and Public Affairs at the LESP, in Summer, 2014 about public art in the LES. At the time, he had been going door to door, encouraging businesses in the LES to allow himself and artist Jessica Blowers to paint their gates with original murals. In searching for ways to fund this public art initiative, Natalie took the idea to the City by applying for a Neighborhood Challenge grant, a joint initiative between NYC Department of Small Business Services and NYC Economic Development Corporation. Natalie received a grant in the amount of $30,000 and at that time, the LESP took over formal operations of the 100 GATES Project.
The LESP spent 2015 connecting artists with businesses and forging collaborations between the two parties, successfully installing a total of 75 gates. In 2016, Tiger Beer approached the LESP with the intention of helping the organization reach it’s goal of installing that 100th gate.