Bushwick Open Studios Art Festival Goes High-Tech with Own iPhone App

By Meredith Hoffman on March 29, 2012 5:38pm 

BUSHWICK—Aesthete with an iPhone? Navigating the hundreds of nooks and crannies in Bushwick's giant yearly art festival is about to get easier.

The sixth Bushwick Open Studios, which begins June 1, promises to include even more than last year's count of 500 artists, according to organizers—and this year an app will serve as a free guide.

"I hope it'll help people explore a little more freely than they would before," said Joey Castillo, who's building the app for free as part of the all-volunteer event.

The three-part app will include a list of participating artists, a chronological list of events throughout the weekend, and an interactive map that shows which venues are in the vicinity, Castillo said.

Castillo, who has shown his photojournalistic work in the past at the public three-day festival, hopes the iPhone accessory will also help people from other parts of the city feel more comfortable wandering around the area.

"People can say, 'Hey, I'm not doing anything this weekend,'" he said, and hop on the subway to various spots on the L, J, and M trains with the comfort of their technological guides.

The app will supplement the event's traditional "hub" spaces, designated galleries and restaurants that act as welcoming spots around each subway station. Arts organization Norte Maar, with free "Maps and Mimosas," will be one of the eight hub spots, with a special show of the flyers of the band Pass Kontrol.

Jason Andrews of Norte de Maar said the app will be an added help, but that it won't replace the community feel of the meeting spaces.

"Part of this big event is a social event," said Andrews, "to come out and meet people and not just stare at your phone."

Other hubs this year include the gallery English Kills off the Morgan L stop, the bar Northeast Kingdom off the Jefferson L, Outpost Artist Resources off the L Halsey, Airplane off the J, M, Z Myrtle Avenue stop, and Little Skips off the Central Avenue M stop.

And the House of Yes event space, off the Grand Avenue L stop, will act as a hub space as well as the host of a multimedia/performance based event on the Sat., June 2, the second day of the festival.

"We anticipate going totally out of control this year," said Julia Sinelnikova, one of Open Studios' organizers.

The group is taking artist submissions for participation starting Sunday. Details can be found on their website.

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