It all started in 1978, Franco Gaskin aka Franco the Great!
Uptown has a plethora of murals ~ street art with a message like #NotACrime, or artwork honoring local and beloved figures, cultures or ideas like #MonumentArtProject, beautifying a neighborhood with a specific theme like the #AudubonArtProject, #100GatesProject. But before all of them, there was Franco Gaskin, also known as Franco the Great, The Picasso of Harlem, who began beautifying the gates on 125th Street in 1978. We were treated to this old youtube video of Franco, and couldn’t wait to share it. Many of these gates are still on view.
Franco can still be found hard at work every Sunday morning, selling his work on 125th Street opposite the famed Apollo Theater.
He was also part of the 2017 #NotACrime artists, with his artwork appearing on the outside wall of Custom Fuel Pizza, 2288 Frederick Douglass Blvd at 122nd Street.