Chester Station’s Gateway newsstand to be taken over by artists

'As artists, we need to reclaim and re-vision forlorn spaces,' organizer Jess Dobkin says


Like an extra shot of espresso in your morning coffee, Jess Dobkin and a group of fellow local artists want to add some buzz to your commute.

An orphaned newsstand at Chester station, which Dobkin says shuttered approximately seven years ago, will be the site of an interactive artist’s space and newsstand in May, 2015. It will be a place where, as Dobkin puts it, people will have “the opportunity to engage in creativity and discussion and also buy their magazine and Kit Kat for the ride.”

The team is currently raising money to cover the cost of repairs and restoring the space. Gateway has agreed to lease the space for one year at a discount starting April 1, giving the team one month to prep before launching on May 1.

“Art and creativity and the imagination should be intertwined in our daily lives,” Dobkin says. The newsstand project will provide a space for both established and up-and-coming artists to create work and display pieces, engaging both art lovers and average transit users in thought and conversation. 

Dobkin acknowledges that media is changing, with less need for newsstands offering print products. But artists still require physical spaces and connection to an audience. 

“The digital world can’t replace our need for real-time physical interaction and dialogue,” she explains. 

The location choice isn’t random, but symbolic: historically, a newsstand was a meeting place, where news is communicated and ideas exchanged – the same elements many visual artists hope to foster.

Dobkin believes community engagement is part of an artist’s responsibility. The gallery/newsstand/creative space will also involve local youth in dialogue about what a newsstand does and the ways news and media are processed today versus in bygone eras.

“It’ll be a generational conversation on a generational issue of how we digest news,” she says. Another part of the artist’s job according to Dobkin? Injecting art into life whenever possible. She hopes that this artist’s newsstand will do just that:

“As artists, we need to reclaim and re-vision forlorn spaces.”

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