If you’ve noticed (and enjoyed) the slew of murals and art around 4 World Trade Center, you can thank Dough Smith. Doug, Owner of World Trade Gallery, also serves as a visionary for public art in high profile areas. Inspired by the art we see every day when we pass by World Trade Center, we spoke with Doug to learn more about his gallery, and how his creative vision is helping to beautify downtown…
Tell us about World Trade Gallery...
Urban art, expert designed picture frames, large scale curations and mega corporate work.... think "sexy, cool, fun" for homes and "corporate branding of companies through art" at the office..... all in the Financial District since 1981.
What inspired you to open World Trade Gallery? Why open in the Financial District?
Simple, we opened in 1981 beside the biggest buildings in the world, the World Trade Center. It was a strategic business move that has proven to be right. Over the decades we've opened and sold about ten other retail stores but this one has been constant since the beginning. Now I live and work here, love it here, and enjoy seeing the neighborhood transform once again.
What can locals expect when they visit World Trade Gallery?
Art, frames, and killer design. That's what we do and we do it well. I don't believe there's a space on earth I can't make more beautiful by curating the walls. We have a ton of experience, creativity, and passion. If you're looking for art, whatever it is, I can get it if it's for sale, sometimes even if it's not for sale. We are now imbedded in the NYC street/graffiti/urban/mural movement which is a global. If you're looking for picture frames, where else can you go that can do either hi end or competitively priced work with an emphasis on design, quality, and speed. We do all the work on site which makes us a very rare jewel in the city.
What makes World Trade Gallery so unique?
Passion. Love of art. Love of design. Love of FiDi. Our lives, friends, hearts and souls are rooted in this American Revolutionary soil.
What's coming up for World Trade Gallery this fall?
After curating the public murals at the World Trade Center there's a lot of momentum and opportunities which include curating the King Saladeen and Mister E exhibition in SoHo, NYSE Member's Auction, hosting the inaugural meeting of art gallery owners Think Tank (we've called ourselves the ArtAvengers), headlining an artist at a Boston art league, putting a Street Artist book together capturing the movement as it grows into a new phase. All that is in addition to a large Brolga commission, Rubin415 commission, HekTad commission and on and on. During the week and on Saturday I'm at the gallery doing what I love best.
How has the business evolved as the neighborhood has changed?
Dramatically. We used to sell mostly to corporations and the art and design was quite traditional. From that era my personal collection of antique Lower Manhattan engravings is in the hundreds and could fill a wing of a museum. As buildings converted from commercial to residential like 70 Pine St. and new buildings are opened like 50 West where the design is ultra modern we found art and framing tastes were largely dictated by the architecture.
What is your favorite thing about being a local business owner?
I love our clients, interacting with them, transforming their spaces and making them proud of their walls where they live and work. It's rewarding to change the atmosphere.