NYC Starbucks Store Highlights Emerging Artists

New York City is known for a vibrant and varied gallery scene with exceptional photography, paintings, prints and sculpture. Its epicenter is Chelsea, with more than 300 galleries in just a few city blocks. Here art lovers can discover new and established artists, with styles ranging from the traditional to the avant-garde.

Now a new space for art and conversation has opened its doors in Chelsea. The Starbucks store, located in a former art gallery on the corner of 26th Steet and 10th Avenue, celebrates art and its connection to the community. The new store features a rotating wall of curated pieces in collaboration with Uprise Art, an online gallery for emerging artists, to create a physical space where people can connect with new works of art.

“Chelsea's art scene is unlike anywhere else in the world, a vibrant center of aesthetic and conceptual innovation. We know many gallerists and artists working in the neighborhood will visit the store, so it was important for us to curate relevant artwork within the space that reflects the art discourse happening just outside our walls,” said Tze Chun, founder of Uprise Art.

Through the program, customers will be able to purchase art showcased on the wall, with proceeds benefitting the artist and Free Arts, a local organization providing underserved children with educational arts and mentoring programs.

Lara Behnert, who manages the program that sources art for Starbucks stores, said this art collaboration in stores is the first of its kind for the company.

The design concept for the store was based on coffee trees, with elements that reference coffee botanicals. The color palette of the store is also inspired by coffee, with shades ranging from the light crema coffee color of birch plywood to a dark espresso.

Designers created a warm, eclectic feel with a coffee-forward espresso bar and lounge seating. When customers enter from the street, they immediately step down into a welcoming space anchored by a vintage rug and furniture sourced from local secondhand furniture shops. A custom three-dimensional abstract map of New York City is etched into panels in front of coffee bar, and a textured ceiling feature made of cardboard completes the space. Menus are hand-lettered pieces of paper clipped to backer boards.

“We retained the existing gallery shell and added a coffee bar and lounge-inspired seating,” said Claudine Losato, director of store design for Starbucks. “We also found an exposed brick wall we used as a focal point.”

Art is a constant thread throughout the store, with a permanent commissioned work above the banquette that tells the story of Starbucks coffee, created by Seattle artist Lars Bergquist.

“Chelsea is such an energizing place to be for artists and designers,” said Losato. “We’re excited to be a part of it.”

The store address is at 525 W 26th Ave., New York, NY

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