Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition celebrates its 40th exhibition season

May 2, 2018 Jaime DeJesus
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Fine art is once again on display in Brooklyn as part of a storied tradition within the borough.

The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition (BWAC), a non-profit organization formed in 1978 that helps artists while giving them a forum to present their work, will be launching its 40th exhibition season with its Spring Pier Show held in Red Hook every weekend starting Saturday, May 12 until Sunday, June 17.

The event will be held in a 25,000-square-foot Civil War-era building at 481 Van Brunt Street.

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Janice Weiss, artist and public relations for BWAC, is excited about the historic exhibition now entering its fourth decade. “The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition was founded in 1978. We started as a small group of 14 members and were originally located in Dumbo,” she said. Eventually, BWAC needed more space and fortunately, she went on, local developer Greg O’Connell let them use the Van Brunt Street space, which, she explained, “Was built as a storage warehouse during the Civil War for goods being transported down the Hudson River.”

Today, BWAC consists of 400 artists who show their work in the same space now donated by the O’Connell Organization and Harbor View Associates.

Weiss is excited about the opening day reception on Saturday, May 12 from 1- 6 p.m.

“Opening day, we usually entertain 1,000 visitors,” Weiss said. “This season is special because it is the 40th spring pier show and it consists of five different exhibits. We really are excited. In 40 years, we went from 14 members to 400 members which is unbelievable. It’s a wonderful time for old and new artists to exhibit their artwork.”


The five exhibits include Wide Open 9, a National Juried Show; Recycle 2018, a National Juried Show; In The Groove, an International Juried show of Album Cover Art; Dominica After Maria, a curated fundraising exhibition for disaster relief after Hurricane Maria; and Transformation, the Spring BWAC members exhibition.

There should be something for every attendee to enjoy.

“The art is very diverse,” Weiss said. “It goes from realistic photography to abstract painting to three dimensional objects. We have a wonderful wood sculpture artist with us this show and we have Recycle, which is interesting because parts of objects are put together to create pictures and sculptures.”

There will also be entertainment. On Saturday, May 12 there will be musical performances by Richard X Bennett & RXB5 and Zoe Over Zero. Then on Sunday, May 13, Myrna and the Bulldog, Mitch Distefano, and Paula Jeanine Bennett & One Village Choir will take the stage.

Attendees who get hungry will also appreciate the food court.

What separates this exhibition from others in the city is its rich history and the amount of artists, according to Weiss.

“The view is superior. You have the view of the harbor and the Statue of liberty and the Verrazano Bridge,” she said. “The fact we are in that space for so long and we are still getting funded by the same people that funded us initially is special. The group has changed but it’s still being donated which is beautiful.”

The exhibit will be open weekends from Saturday, May 12 through Sunday, June 27 from 1-6 p.m. Enter at Door 7. Donations are accepted. For a full list of performances, artists and more, visit


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