Wix.com has teamed up with New York’s Little Italy Merchants Association and street art collective Secret Walls to launch the Little Italy Street Art (L.I.S.A.) Project, an initiative aimed at reviving interest in the neighborhood’s distinctive flavors through a series of edgy, creative murals. L.I.S.A.’s efforts reached a fever pitch this past weekend with a street party that included a mural battle, food served by local merchants, DJ sets, a collaborative user-generated walking tour, the unveiling of celebrated artist Tristan Eaton’s “Liberty” mural and beer donated by Pabst Blue Ribbon.
“Street art is all about putting art in unexpected places, and I don’t think anyone expected Little Italy to be home to New York City’s only mural district,” L.I.S.A. co-curators Wayne Rada and RJ Rushmore told Wix.
At Saturday’s block party, street art luminaries – including Tristan Eaton, Buff Monster, Hanksy, GILF! and Ron English – squared off for a graffiti mural “battle,” DJ Rawse kept the energy levels kicking, and participants led each other on tours of the murals by posting to social networks using dedicated mention tags that qualified them for prizes. Wix.com served as the event’s technology partner, and the team from the Wix Lounge is continuing to work with local independent small business owners on their websites, to help build on the buzz around L.I.S.A.
L.I.S.A. first started building momentum about a year ago, when Rada, a manager of comedians by profession, and Rushmore, a Haverford College undergrad who runs the influential Vandalog street art chronicle from his dorm room, commissioned “Temper Tot” from renowned artist Ron English. “For fans of street art, [L.I.S.A.] is bringing them into Little Italy when they otherwise might not visit,” Rada and Rushmore said. “And for the tourists and New Yorkers who walk through Little Italy every day, the L.I.S.A. project NYC is bringing something new and fun to the area.”
At its core, L.I.S.A. is about the convergence of grassroots creativity and independent business to promote local urban activity in the public’s consciousness in a way that doesn’t compromise on authenticity. “Our L.I.S.A. project stems from the Italian passions for food and art,” Umberto’s Clam House owner Robert Ianniello said. “Little Italy and its community is not only honored to host the Wix.com event, but is also excited to be working with Wix.com. They’re helping the merchants in every way, in creating and building their websites – we couldn’t be more pleased.”