Anthony Rosado

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Bushwick Open Studios Revamp Underway to Bring in ‘Natives,’ Dodge Corporate Interests

Bushwick Open Studios 2015 (Photo: Jordan Abosch)

Bushwick Open Studios 2015 (Photo: Jordan Abosch)

Wednesday night, Bushwick Open Studios organizers convened at the local community and activist space Mayday, for a “town hall meeting,” and their first coordinated public appearance since Arts in Bushwick (AiB) announced they were moving the annual arts festival from the June date it held for eight years to a later one in October. News of the change-up was shocking for many community members and while some gallerists and artists expressed enormous disappointment, AiB was adamant that the move was intended to bring BOS back to its roots. As the fest’s organizers told us earlier this month, the festival had been “co-opted by many different commercial interests.”

When B+B asked at the meeting if there had been a breaking point, Laura Braslow, a longtime Bushwick resident who’s been involved in organizing BOS for the decade of its existence, told us: “It’s been several years of this trajectory, largely since the end of the recession. There’s stuff that’s happened structurally, but really a lot of those changes that you see in the city as a whole are playing out locally, and we’re trying to figure out how this organization can accomplish its mission in that context.” In short, BOS was suffering not only from a kind of corporate robbery, but also from their own inadequate attempts to reach out to the community as a whole. And in the highly charged atmosphere of a neighborhood in the midst of one of the harsher examples of gentrification in Brooklyn, neither of those things were going to fly for much longer.

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Gallery’s ‘Bushwick 200’ List Sparks White-Hot Gentrification Debate

An image posted in response to the event, via becausecapitalism.org.

An image posted in response to the event, via becausecapitalism.org.

If you thought the season for “top 10” lists was over, think again: a Bushwick art gallery, Fuchs Projects, has stirred up some controversy with its planned “Bushwick 200” list.

Last week, the gallery announced that it was set to identify “the 200 most influential people in Bushwick in 2016 in the Arts, Restaurants and Bars, Music, performing arts, Entertainment, Health, Real Estate, Gaming, Design and Hi-tech.” The “comprehensive list” of those who are “shaping the neighborhood of Bushwick” and “transforming the conventional” is being compiled “with the help of more than a dozen experts in different fields of art and commerce,” according to the gallery.

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In ‘Predominantly White Space,’ Bushwick Natives Show Art Grappling With Change

Painting by Anthony Rosado via BACG Instagram

Painting by Anthony Rosado via BACG Instagram

Last Wednesday, the Bushwick Art Crit Group met for an evening of critique that in many ways wasn’t out of the ordinary. Yet the founder of the non-profit community art organization, Christopher Stout, admitted later that during his opening comments his voice began to shake as he introduced the curator and opening presenter, Anthony Rosado. “No one likes to feel like you are part of the problem, especially when you are working so hard to bring good into the world,” Christopher said in a follow-up interview with B+B.

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At BOS, Detroit Artists Shared Concerns with Bushwickians

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

“I’m not trying to make anyone jealous by telling you this, but I bought my house for $800,” James Cornish, a Detroit-based artist told the small gathering at Spread Art’s Bushwick Open Studios outpost on Saturday. “Well, we didn’t have cops — which isn’t necessarily as bad as you might think, wooh!”

Cornish, who essentially lives off-the-grid thanks to solar panels, shared an experience that’s become a familiar, but no less envy-inducing refrain when it comes to people describing the benefits (particularly for artists) of living in a place like Detroit. Almost everyone at the discussion audibly gasped. But Cornish and other artists visiting BOS from places like Detroit, Jersey City, and Philadelphia shared some surprisingly similar concerns about ownership, gentrification, and real estate with Bushwick residents.

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