BUSHWICK: Brooklyn's Thriving Art Scene

BUSHWICK: Brooklyn’s Thriving Art Scene

The Bushwick section of Brooklyn, NY is home to a thriving artist community, www.artsinbushwick.org/events/bushwick-open-studios-2017/

The urban gritty feel gives it a counterculture not quite commercial, with a preponderance of young artists and professionals.  Many art galleries as well as artist studios (e.g. Brooklyn Brush) have taken up residence here, positioning itself as a vanguard of urban, big city (slightly counter- culture) art. One can imagine that over time this area will rival Manhattan as an art mecca for those seeking to find undiscovered but highly compelling art. Interestingly, in recent years, Manhattan’s rising property costs have already caused the downtown Chelsea art scene to migrate to Brooklyn. 

Transform8 artwork by John Coffelt and Espartaco Albornoz

Last year I was invited to take part in a group show (“Transform8”) in Bushwick at ArtHelix SHIM (www.arthelix.com/), curated by Mariano Cinat, an internationally exhibited New York City-based artist, who was recently appointed as the new curator of the Contemporary Latin-American Art Department at SHIM Art Gallery.

Mariano Cinat with his paintings

While enjoying the opportunity to show in NYC, I explored a small subset of the Bushwick art scene. Since I had heard positive reviews of this emerging art district, my husband and I decided to check out the nearby galleries. 

Our nearby search brought us to 56 Bogart Street (an area that has some parallels to Boston’s SoWa Artist district).  I should mention that finding the galleries (even restaurants) can be an adventure, since there seems to be a conspicuous lack of signage (perhaps intentional?). However, once inside you will find vibrant art and very knowledgeable gallery owners/directors.

56 Bogart Street

There are a variety of artistic styles that are presented in different formats, including solo shows and performance art. One recommended destination is David & Schweitzer Contemporary (www.davidandschweitzer.com/), owned by Michael David and Keith Schweitzer. Michael is an encaustic pioneer who also teaching a post-conference workshop at the 2018 Encaustic Conference at Castle Hill (www.castlehill.org/12th-international-encaustic-conference/).

David & Schweitzer Contemporary










Anthony Philip of Anthony Philip Fine Art

A few blocks around the corner is Odetta Gallery, at 226 Cook Street (www.odettagallery.com/index.html).  The gallery’s director, Ellen Hackl Fagan, who was busy working on an installation, but kindly paused to welcome us and discuss Odetta and her screening process for selecting artists. She is very experienced, and seemed to know everyone who was anyone in Bushwick (e.g., she suggested visiting Michael David because she made the encaustic connection with my work).

Ellen Hackl Fagan and Mariano Cinat at Odetta Gallery

The future for Bushwick’s artists seems promising www.departures.com/art-culture/bushwick-brooklyn-art-scene) although the impending potential influx of tech companies and big retail firms; these will likely result in higher studio and gallery rents for artists.  www.hyperallergic.com/401969/bushwick-commercial-real-estate-artists/