Rachel Baer

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Restricted Access (SIA Only)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art Business

First Advisor

Agnes Berecz

Second Advisor

Maria Sancho-Arroyo


This thesis will research and analyze the shifts of street artists across the United States and the implications upon which caused them to transform their practices. This paper will evaluate the developments in urban settings that foster communities of artists to show that there has been a shift in street art; from New York to other big cities within the United States due to gentrification and displacement. Cities to undergo examination include New York, Los Angeles
and Miami. In establishing representational institutions for street artists in each of these sectors, and looking at trends of gentrification and real estate; these initiatives will facilitate the creation of a characteristic-based profile that will provide an elucidation of the geographical shifts associated with street art. This paper will focus on the commodification and commercialization of street artists' works, specifically in New York City, aiming to shed light on the motivations behind artists' decision to transform their work beyond the streets. From analyzing representational institutions for street artists in New York, a majority of them have shut down operations or have moved to different locations. On top of this, upon
looking elsewhere within the United States we have seen institutions such as museums, galleries, and art fairs for street artists pop up in London, Los Angeles, and Miami, leading me to see a geographical map in my mind where street art has shifted. Street artists need space to accommodate them and through the gentrification of cities and real estate trends, street artists and their livelihoods have been affected. This research will affirm these thoughts and will prove that street artists have either had to downsize their production within NYC and have had to turn to aspects such as commercialization in art to make up for their loss in other areas. These artists that have left NYC and shifted to other big cities, have seen big shifts in their career due to them transforming themselves and their work. Overall this paper will argue that shifts in cities with gentrification occurring in the
environments of street artists, lead them to produce their work in other geographical cities throughout the United States. Through analysis this thesis will seek to unravel the underlying reasons. Questions to be answered include is there a lack of representation for street artists in New York?, why do street artists commodify their works?, and did the gentrification of New York City and change of environment have an impact on its artists?