The District 1 race for New York City's local elections today has involved a unique amount of participation by the art community, and by art galleries in particular. Zoning and gentrification are key issues in the race for District 1, which encompasses the gallery-rich neighborhoods of Chinatown, the Lower East Side, Soho and Tribeca. Christopher Marte, now 28, grew up on Rivington Street in the Lower East Side.
Marte's support among the art crowd in the district took off after he participated in events held by the community group Art Against Displacement, which was founded by the owner of 47 Canal gallery. Marte has subsequently enjoyed the support of a number of art galleries located in the district, including Gavin Brown's Enterprise, James Fuentes, Bodega and Essex Street.
Regardless of the outcome, Marte's campaign has served as a case study of how art galleries can constructively participate in political affairs at the community level.