Greenpoint

Fighting to save Brooklyn’s artists, Greenpoint Open Studios is back this weekend

June 7, 2019 Scott Enman
Greenpoint Open Studios, now in its sixth year, is a weekend-long celebration of local art in in the neighborhood that gives artists a free and open platform to showcase their creations. Photo by Wil Damy

The pressures of development along Brooklyn’s waterfront have created a strenuous — and at times, suffocating — environment for local artists. But in Greenpoint, one annual event seeks to keep the art alive.

Greenpoint Open Studios, now in its sixth year, is a weekend-long celebration of local art in the neighborhood that gives artists a free and open platform to showcase their creations.

“As it’s getting more challenging to keep the arts community alive here, people are being a lot more vigilant about creating the community and creating a space where we can keep that going,” Julia Moak, organizer of the event and publisher of Greenpointers, told the Brooklyn Eagle.

“It’s very much a neighborhood celebration as much as it is a celebration of the arts.”

Inside the studio of Meg Franklin. Photo by Tony Falcone
Inside the studio of Meg Franklin. Photo by Tony Falcone

What started as a grassroots effort has slowly emerged into a premier attraction with more than 300 artists, not only from Brooklyn but across the world, showcasing their artwork.

Artist Davide Volponi, for example, will be traveling to Greenpoint from Italy for the event and will be exhibiting “Salumeria Volponi,” a project where he paints wooden tree trunks to look like salami and other meats.

And with Northside Festival folding, Greenpoint Open Studios is one of the final large-scale neighborhood-based events, according to Moak.

Inside one of the open studios. Photo by Wila Damy
Inside one of the open studios. Photo by Wil Damy

“Greenpoint is one of the only neighborhoods that has retained its authentic feel because so many neighborhoods are changing with gentrification,” Moak said. “People here are going to fight for that not to happen. It has a really strong community of people who really voice their opinions and really come together.”

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The community-driven event has 50 volunteers and businesses donating wall space and hosting information hubs. Attendees can expect to see screen-printing, ceramic teapot demonstrations, sketchbook nature drawing at Kingsland Wildflowers, an abstract painting class and a live mural panting of a 75-foot wall at Java Studios.

Artist Loui Terrier shows off his artwork. Photo by Tony Falcone
Artist Loui Terrier shows off his artwork. Photo by Tony Falcone

The Greenpoint YMCA will also be showcasing artwork made by seniors from the Krakus Senior Center.

The Launch Party to kick off the weekend takes place tonight from 7:30 p.m. to midnight at the Brooklyn Bazaar. Expect music, dancing, live painting, video projections, swag bags of art supplies and frozen cocktail specials.

On Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. artists will open up their studio spaces to visitors, and on Sunday from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., the Wrap Party will take place at One Bedford.

A map with all of the venues taking part in Greenpoint Open Studios can be seen here.

Follow reporter Scott Enman on Twitter.

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