(Photo: Rawson Projects)

(Photo: Rawson Projects)

A pair of outerborough galleries, Rawson Projects and Regina Rex, will now be neighbors on the Lower East Side. And Harbor, one of the galleries punted from 17-17 Troutman along with Regina Rex, is popping up there as well.

After spending five years in two North Brooklyn locations, Rawson Projects will officially be back in business this Sunday, with an opening reception for painter Halsey Hathaway. That same night, Regina Rex, formerly located on the Bushwick-Ridgewood border, will reopen next-door with a group show. Both of the galleries are now located at 221 Madison, near Jefferson Street.

No, Rawson isn’t running from rent hikes, thank heavens. Rather, owner Chris Rawson explained the reason for the relocation “was more about thinking that our artists deserve to have more people see their work.”

Another draw was the close proximity of other galleries who are fellow members of NADA [New Art Dealers Alliance]. “We thought it would be better to be around those galleries,” he explained.

Rawson Projects closed its Greenpoint location back in May, in order to search for a new space. “Even before that we were thinking about moving to the city. We just weren’t sure exactly where we were going to end up,” Chris said. “For us it’s just sort of a logical step.”

Chris was quick to assure us he enjoyed his time in North Brooklyn: “Being in Greenpoint was great, we had a beautiful space, it was big. At that point we were only on the weekends. We just got to this point where things had been steadily growing and we were thinking it would be better to be in the city.” Though the space will not be physically bigger, Chris is confident the audience will be, thanks in part to increased foot traffic.

He hinted that perhaps the burgeoning art scene elsewhere around Brooklyn was attracting attention away from the Williamsburg-Greenpoint zone. “There’s some great galleries in Brooklyn. But I don’t know, there’s a whole other thing happening in Bushwick. And now there’s a lot happening in Red Hook,” he said.

As for Regina Rex, it’ll finally have a permanent home after a summer of putting on shows at Bunker 259 in Greenpoint and Knockdown Center in Flushing. And now it’ll be the one playing host as Harbor, its former neighbor at 17-17 Troutman, produces “an ongoing program of rogue events and challenging installations” inside of Regina Rex’s new space, starting with a salon hanging of 40 paintings this Sunday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.