Nightly News   |  October 25, 2009

Real estate slump opens doors for artists

Oct. 25: The recession that’s forcing so many commercial operations to close, is simultaneously creating some unexpected opportunities for local artists. NBC’s Mara Schiavocampo reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally tonight a creative way to fill vacant storefronts. the recession is opening up unexpected opportunities in the article world. we have the story.

>> reporter: in the midst of a great city, a warehouse of color. new york artist renaldo is getting a rare opportunity to showcase his work.

>> the legendary gregory hines .

>> reporter: it looks like a typical showing except this isn't a gallery. a vacant storefront in downtown brooklyn . the recession has hit businesses hard, leaving many commercial owners with empty space they can't rent. they're looking for ways to temporarily fill the stories. some landlords turn to artists offering them cheap or free short-term deals to use the space as a studio or gallery. after all, they would much rather have this than this. they're called pop-up galleries sprouting in the middle of commercial areas. he's using this former hallmark card store as his gallery. how many people pass this way every day in front of these windows and see your work?

>> i would say hundreds.

>> reporter: the owner is letting him use the space for free until december.

>> i'm paying by donating my creative energy.

>> reporter: william used to work out of his living room. now -- you have workspace and display space. have you ever had that much space before?

>> no.

>> reporter: he pays $160 a month for this former office, a fraction of what it would normally cost. this space actually used to be an h&r block . katy of the downtown brooklyn partnership works as a liaison.

>> instead of gray metal shutters there's an opportunity to do something good.

>> reporter: so far pop-up galleries have gotten rave reviews from artists, owners and the community.

>> i think it's great. it shouts out to you.

>> it seems to be really lifting people's spirits in this time which could be kind of doom and gloom.

>> reporter: lifting spirits by turning bleak reminders. recession into a canvas for artwork. nbc news, new york.

>>> that's "nbc nightly news" for