Ambition and hustle have always been at the nucleus of the 100 Gates Project.
It’s a unique, street art-centric, grassroots initiative that aims to connect New York City artists with businesses and merchants in the name of beautification, improvement and enrichment–as well as graffiti cessation. The idea originated with Billy Rohan, a New York artist and professional skateboarder. Rohan and other artists would go door-to-door in Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhood, asking merchants to let them paint tasteful murals on their roll-down security gates. The murals would give residents and visitors alike a neat visual while the storefronts were closed at night and in the early morning hours.
Eventually, Rohan connected with Natalie Raben, senior vice president of partnerships and public affairs for the Lower East Side Partnership, and the organization took over project operations, helping facilitate merchant and artist partnerships.
“When I first heard about the program, I loved their spirit and story,” says Steve Baust, a designer at ThoughtMatter who has been working closely with the initiative since we forged a partnership in 2016. “It’s one of those things in New York that just happened by chance. It grew organically, snowballing into this big thing. If you take a walk around the LES you can really feel the effect the project is having on the area, and the respect these works of art receive.”
In September 2016, the initiative painted its 100th gate at the Lower East Side’s iconic Katz’s Delicatessen.
Even before reaching its initial goal of 100 murals–which feature contributions by iconic artists like Hektad, Jessica Blowers, Chamberlin Newsome and, of course, Rohan himself–the 100 Gates Project sought to expand in both the number of completed murals and geographic reach.
We joined forces with the 100 Gates Project to drive branding and to assist in preparing for an applicatino for a grant from New York City’s Neighborhood 360° program, which helps develop and launch revitalization projects.
Our branding efforts went hand-in-hand with the grant application’s development. We created a brand look and feel, customized a font, designed a new logo and series of icons, and used them all to develop a otol kit of branding assets that the 100 Gates Project could use to communicate and raise brand awareness with the public.
We built the branding assets and messaging around the unique “Open when closed” positioning we developed for the brand: The 100 Gates Project is the world’s largest open-air art gallery, and it’s open during off-hours when ever other gallery is closed.
The grand application was a success. The 100 Gates Project has raised funds to maintain operations in the Lower East Side and expand into East Harlem and Staten Island. The initiative strives to expand even further.
Since forging our relationship with the 100 Gates Project, we’ve collaborated further on the ongoing redesign of the initiative’s website. Meanwhile, we are also providing additional creative thinking and execution that will help stimulate the project’s continuous growth and brand awareness.
“Right away, ThoughtMatter took a deep dive into our 100 Gates Project brand and worked closely with u to develop a new identity that accurately reflects the spirit of our message,” says Raben. “All of that hard work has reaped immediate benefits, as our project is now poised to be taken to the next level with a looming expansions. Working with ThoughtMatter has been both a pleasure and a breeze, and we look forward to continuing the journey.”
It was work we’re proud of, and the kind of work we’ll continue doing.