Nevermind the Nor’easter: ‘Summer’ On Clinton Street Tonight

Summer-JnrlStrLeah Tinari

Forget the impending snow storm: tonight on Clinton Street, it’ll be “Summer.” That’s the name of a multi-venue exhibition of paintings by Leah Tinari, owner of neighborhood hangout Fatta Cuckoo. Her art — along with food, drinks, and music by DJ Vlad & DJ Cles — will be showcased at her restaurant as well as at Kupersmith, and at shops JnrlStr and Blake Scotland.

Part gallery opening, part block party, the event is the brain child of Doug Jaeger and Kristin Sloan, who have recently expanded their creative studio, JaegerSloan, into a gallery and retail shop called JnrlStr. The partners became fast friends with Ms. Tinari and her husband, Martin Kirchoff, when they first popped into Fatta Cuckoo a few years ago.

LeahTinari-byJaegerSloanJaegerSloan Leah Tinari

“We started our businesses on the block at the same time,” said Mr. Jaeger. “When you work out of a studio space, local food is really important, especially when you work late. Then we began to help them with their Website and menus, and there was a driving need to collaborate.” Soon a kind of community network emerged, which they hope to foster and expand. “People joke that I’m a pseudo-mayor of Clinton street,” said Mr. Jager. “Which I don’t aspire to be – but I do have a desire to see the businesses collaborating.”

Though the street is anchored by high-wattage destinations like Wd-50 and Clinton Street Baking Company, smaller businesses still find it to be a challenging area. Even buzzed-about restaurants like Frankies Spuntino and Ed’s Lobster Bar have folded in the past year. “We are a bit far east and off the beaten path,” said Ms. Tinari. “Then we’re sandwiched between more residential streets and traffic that goes off the bridge. People use it as a thoroughfare after work and don’t necessarily stop on the street.” With few offices in the vicinity, most restaurants can’t justify staying open during lunch.

Summer_Leah-Tinari_Abstract-Reflection-of-SunsetLeah Tinari

Tonight’s anti-winter exhibition may point to a blossoming pocket of the Lower East Side art scene. CultureFix, a craft-beer bar on Clinton Street, regularly stages a rotating mix of offbeat art events. Their neighborly, irreverent attitude to art is similar to JnrlStr’s vision for their gallery shop and future exhibitions.

“Our approach is to put forward work that is really accessible and communicates with viewers in an ordinary way,” explained Mr. Jaeger. “We aren’t looking at this in a critical way at all — we want to make the art relatable, so by choosing an artist that lives and works on our street we hope to make a link to the people in our community. Tonight is a test. Do the businesses get more customers? Is it more fun for the residents? Is the lifestyle on the street better?”

“Summer,” Feb. 7 from 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. at Fatta Cuckoo (63 Clinton Street), Blake Scotland (62 Clinton Street), JnrlStr (55 Clinton Street), and Kupersmith (49 Clinton). RSVP here.