Emerging Artists find “A-home-away-from-school” at Brooklyn Art Space
by Tamara Garvey
As an emerging artist, I know that it can be daunting to find traction in the New York art world, rarefied as it is or appears to be. So I was thrilled to stumble across Brooklyn Art Space (BAS). Located at 7th Street & 3rd Avenue in Park Slope/Gowanus, BAS is an incredibly wide-reaching arts organization. Their mission is “to foster the growth of artists, engage the art community through educational programming, and make contemporary art accessible to public audiences.”
BAS provides a myriad of resources to emerging artists, including studio spaces, workshops, professional development opportunities, art talks, studio visits, exhibition grants, open studio events, and two residency programs. It also has a partnership with nearby Trestle Gallery, which dedicates four (4) of its yearly exhibitions to BAS members’ work.
The studio spaces are divided into an Open Studio – a 4,000 square foot shared room with lots of natural light, semi-private spaces of varying dimensions; and ”Room 58” which comprises two quiet adjoining cubicles that are designated for writers.
Affordable Membership Program
BAS is structured by membership tiers and designed to be financially affordable making New York’s high priced art market accessible to newcomers. Members have access to their facilities 24 hours a day, just like those night owl hours you probably kept in art school!
Basic Membership is $150 per month and includes access to the open studio room, a feature on BAS’s online art registry, free figure drawing three times per week, and free monthly critiques and Art Talks. Next is Open Studio Membership at $225 per month, for those perks plus a personal storage rack and locker. Finally, there is Semi-Private Studio Membership, ranging from $350 to $650 per month, which also guarantees you one of the 30 personal, customizable workspaces that you can visit anytime.
Also, if you’ve graduated with your BFA or MFA within the past two years, you can apply for the Recent Graduate Residency Program, which allows reduced membership fees and a guaranteed spot in Trestle Gallery’s annual “Introductions” exhibition.
BAS has services for local artists even if you’re not looking for a full membership. There’s a really great-sounding Business Career Bootcamp, designed to refine your artist packet, artwork, exhibition opportunities, and social media use. Or, for $15 an hour you can hire an Artist Assistant, a BAS intern who helps organize your art business and studio space. (The money goes right to the intern!)
Finally, perhaps their most valuable service is the monthly Open Critique session. I remember when a professor told us that one of the things we’d miss most after graduation was having the built-in critique community that art school provides. At the time, after reworking pieces over and over, I thought, “I will definitely not miss this!” Flash-forward a few years later and I now know that she was absolutely right!
BAS states, “A large part of our studio community is built around the interaction of our members; after all, it’s hard to create in a vacuum!” So their regular critique session, open to members and non-members alike, is an especially valuable program.
It’s so wonderful to have cultural organizations, such as the Brooklyn Art Space, that are dedicated to providing physical spaces and professional programs to artists, especially at a reasonable price. They’re providing a great service to Brooklyn artists and to the Park Slope/Gowanus neighborhoods.
If you’re a local art lover, I hope to see you at the Gowanus Open Studios event from October 18 – 20, this fall, when the artists studios are open to the public.
New York in 2013 is tough place for emerging artists to develop their work. Finally, thanks to BAS, a community of artists grows in Brooklyn.