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Lower East Side kicks off fall art season

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art Photo Credit: Michael Alan's "Political Commentary" painting at Bridge Gallery on Orcha (Betty Ming Liu)

For the first time, the Lower East Side kicked off the fall art season with a flurry of gallery openings Wednesday night — pre-empting Chelsea’s traditional launch, which is held the first Thursday after Labor Day.

“The LES has become a force in the art world,” said Rooster Gallery owner Alexander Slonevsky. “We’re a bunch of smaller galleries that are open by people who don’t have millions of dollars. But we still want to show art we love. “

His year-old outpost is one of 19 galleries located on Orchard Street alone. The art sellers began arriving after the $60 million New Museum set up shop at 235 Bowery in 2007. These days, the neighborhood seems to be exploding with new showrooms for paintings, photography, mixed media and sculpture.

“Our fastest-growing retail segment seems to be galleries,” said Mark Miller, president of the Lower East Side Business Improvement District (LES BID), whose Mark Miller Gallery has been an Orchard Street fixture since 1998.

To literally put their scene on the map, there’s now a free “Gallery Guide Map,” published by LES BID, which organized Wednesday’s event. The pamphlet lists 73 galleries and will be updated every three months to include new shows and new spaces, according to Miller.

Visitors can find the guide in local shops or online at www.lowereastsideny.com

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