Since it was announced that Bushwick Open Studios will be taking place in October and not on their usual summer date, a couple fledgling fests have tried to fill the void. There’s been the Bushwick Arts Festival, which was a bit of a letdown, and the Bushwick Galleries Association’s Hot Summer Nights of extended hours, which are great but for galleries only. So when we heard tell of a new Bushwick art festival called the Bushwick Open Art Fair, we were skeptical. What would make their “Bears on Bicycles”-themed fair different from the other upstarts? But then the organizers told us they’re “currently looking into the permits required to have live animals at the show.”
Bushwick Arts Festival
For Luis Martin, the curator of a small gallery project inside East Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Brush Studios called Paranthesis Art Space, this last weekend was the culmination of a yearlong effort, but also an exercise in keeping chill and carrying on. Just a few months before he was set to open Parallel Lives– a double-venue show featuring seven artists who traveled here from Chicago and five who traveled there from New York– it was announced that Bushwick Open Studios was canceling its regular June festivities, and moving its artist-focused event to a later date in October. “When Arts in Bushwick decided not to do the summer event, there was no centrality, no direction,” he said. Like many other artists in the area, Martin said he’d been “counting on the Bushwick Open Studios crowd.”
Stephanie Theodore of Theodore:Art was massively disappointed when Arts in Bushwick announced that Bushwick Open Studios was moving from summer to fall in an attempt to close the door on an eight-year tradition. But AiB had their reasons– BOS had ballooned into something of circus, an event that they believe had been co-opted and used by corporate interests and party promoters looking to cash-in on the thousands of people who swarmed the neighborhood each June. But galleries and individual artists also benefitted from the huge influx of people and the visibility that BOS brought to the area, so Theodore was hardly alone. “A lot of other galleries wanted something to replace BOS,” she told B+B over the phone today.
Just a few weeks after volunteer org Arts in Bushwick surprised the neighborhood by announcing that Bushwick Open Studios would be held in October rather than in the summer, an anonymous entity has popped up with plans to fill the void in June, during the same weekend usually reserved for BOS. But little is known about the players behind the new arts fest, and neighborhood artists, gallerists and residents say they don’t know yet whether they’ll get on board.