Sunset Park

Industry City offers behind-the-scenes look at artists at work

April 14, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Visitors will get the chance to see craftspeople at work during the open house. Photo courtesy Industry City
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The artists and craftsmen who work at Industry City are throwing their doors open and are putting out the welcome mat for visitors as part of a special event at the massive Sunset Park business complex.

Industry City is hosting an open house event on Saturday, April 18, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

More than 100 of the creative artists and innovators, who are breathing new life into the 100-year-old industrial complex, will open their doors to the public in a free, day-long celebration of art and entrepreneurship.

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Visitors will get the chance to tour art studios and businesses and meet many of the artists, makers and manufacturers who have found a creative home in Industry City. The diverse group of craftsmen includes painters, food makers, sculptors, fashion designers, photographers, furniture and lighting makers and distillers.

The open house will feature “a lot of cool art for people to peruse through and also a wide range of maker spaces to explore: a chocolate factory with old-school conveyor belt for candy processing, woodworking shops, a pillow factory. There’s even a butcher, baker and candlestick maker,” an Industry City spokesman told the Brooklyn Eagle in an email.

In many cases, visitors will see work that has not yet released or work that is in the process of being produced, organizers said.

Industry City is a collection of 16 warehouses near the waterfront located between 31st and 40th streets in Sunset Park. Industry City boasts six million square feet of space and is home to a wide variety of businesses; everything from Fodera, a guitar maker, to Li-Lac Chocolates, which makes sweet treats.

Printed guides to help visitors plan their tours and locate studios of particular interest will be available at the visitor center at 274 36th St., located between Second and Third avenues.

Artists said they are looking forward to meeting the public.

“Creating art can be an isolating process. What’s unique about Industry City is that you can have the studio space needed within a vibrant and inspiring creative community; which is really the best of both worlds,” painter John Corbett said. Corbett has had a creative workshop at Industry City since October of 2014.

Sparkworkshop Brooklyn, a collective creative space, which occupies 10,000 square feet of space in Industry City, is among those opening up its studios to visitors.

Visitors will also be able to take advantage of special sales offered by business owners in Industry City. Maria Castelli, who designs and makes leather handbags and accessories, is hosting a sample sale. The Brooklyn Candle Studio is offering 30 to 50 percent off on its candles. Another entrepreneur, Alexandra Ferguson, is offering a factory sale. The company makes pillows, make-up cases, tote bags and other handy items.

The open house marks the second time Industry City and its artist-tenants have welcomed visitors for tours. The first Industry City open studios event, which took place April of 2014, drew more than 3,000 people, according to organizers.

Industry City made news in March when it was announced that the owners plan to pump $1 billion into the 16-building complex with an eye toward transforming the site into a hub of innovation and manufacturing businesses over the next 12 years.

Andrew Kimball, CEO of Industry City, who unveiled the plan at a Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce meeting in an Industry City building at 220 36th St. on March 9, said the plan calls for enticing new businesses to rent space. The owners are also seeking to establish university-based academic training centers at the site, construct a new hotel and build a new parking lot.

Kimball, predicted that 20,000 jobs would be created as a result of the investment.

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