New Coop art exhibit to spotlight Bay Ridge via Bay Ridge artists

March 21, 2018 Meaghan McGoldrick
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It’s all about Bay Ridge at a new art exhibit at one of the nabe’s most popular mom-and-pop coffee shops.

The exhibit – “We Live in Bay Ridge” – will call the Coop coffeehouse home for a month starting with an official opening on Thursday, March 22.

The group show will feature artwork of Bay Ridge by artists with Bay Ridge ties.

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“Part of the reason we do shows here is because Bay Ridge has very few places to exhibit art,” said Alicia Degener – the show’s organizer – a Detroit native and mother of two who relocated to southern Brooklyn in 1986 and specifically to Bay Ridge in 1997.

Degener doubles as the show’s organizer and a featured artist.

“I wanted to support the community and Bay Ridge artists while giving them a place to show their work,” she said, “whether they’re emerging artists or more established. So, this show is a mixture of that.”

Degener is no stranger to the Coop, or to Ridge-inspired artwork. Last November, the local artist had her second solo show at the coffee shop in which she spotlighted some of her best portraits of Brooklyn – among people’s favorites, a reimagining of Fifth Avenue’s own Pizza Wagon.

The beloved ode to Pizza Wagon makes another appearance in this showcase, as do tributes to Mike’s Donuts, Bay Ridge Parkway and the storied “Gingerbread House.”

Featured artists besides Degener include Jason Madden, Patricia O’Donnell, Cait McCarthy, James Rose, Jeff Watts, Deirdre Laughton, Daniel Lamanna, Karen McMenemy and James McCormack – a diverse group of creators who offer a unique perspective on their outlook of home through such mediums as photography, painting and other mixed media.

The first hanging in the eclectic exhibit is a crowd-sourced cut-and-pasted poster that poses the question, “Why Do You Live In Bay Ridge?”

For McCarthy, a 25-year-old Ridge native who has since moved to Northport, the show mirrors a homecoming of sorts.

“Bay Ridge is such a huge part of me still. It’s where I realized I wanted to be a photographer – it’s home for me,” she said. “It’s such a transient place, so the things that mean the most to me are what make me feel the way that Brooklyn makes me feel as opposed to the changing storefronts. It’s more of a feeling to me – it’s a kid jumping on a fence, it’s the brick walls, it’s spending an afternoon at Owl’s Head Park and walking to your friend’s house with an ice cream cone.

“It’s a lot of things I’m missing right now as somebody who doesn’t live there anymore,” McCarthy said. “It’s so much more than just a special place – it’s a feeling.”

The opening, which starts at 6 p.m., will be topped off with a special spoken-word performance of “My Brooklyn, Your Brooklyn” by Catherine Gigante-Brown and Darryl Alladice at 7:30 p.m.

The opening will go till 9 p.m. Otherwise, the Coop, 9504 Fourth Avenue, is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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