When Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968, there were riots in the streets; Harlem storeowner reaction was the introduction of dreary looking metal gates on the storefronts. In 1978, Franco took it upon himself to change a negative into a positive by creating a new art form on the steel gates. From then on to present, he has used Sundays, when stores are closed, to paint over 200 gates from the West to the East Side of 125th street." The murals that Franco creates portray his forward-looking philosophy; for example, his very first gate painting is based upon the theme "I must bloom where I am planted." His second gate's theme was "Think Positive".
On most Sundays, you can find Franco on 125th Street greeting tourists. His joy is making his community a more pleasant place through his artwork and the warmth that he displays for everyone. Through his exposure to the numerous tourists on 125th street, Franco has received many invitations to paint wall murals in other countries such as France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Caribbean Islands and several African countries. His works found throughout New York City and in other countries include murals in schools, nurseries, bars and nightclubs.
HTB QUICK FACT: Franco The Great, Harlem Street Artist. Painted more than 200 murals on 125 St. in the 70's. Then known as Franco’s Way.