'Bushwick' Artists With Queens Zip Code Left Out of Brooklyn Festival
RIDGEWOOD — It's a corner of Queens with its heart in Brooklyn.
The dozens of artists with studios in the 17-17 Troutman St. warehouse one block inside Ridgewood, right on the Brooklyn-Queens border, consider themselves a part of Bushwick.
But the Brooklyn Museum's new borough-wide festival GO has been a harsh reminder for tenants of the 17-17 Troutman St. space — they actually work in Queens.
"I always say we're in Bushwick, it's our community," said painter Julia Goodman, 24, lamenting the "error" notice she got after entering her Ridgewood, Queens, zip code on GO’s website to register for the open studio event.
"There was a poster for the festival inside our building...this should be about building community, not creating walls."
Goodman, who said she sent a complaint email to GO's organizers upon receiving the error, said they admitted to receiving complaints from other Ridgewood artists as well, but that the festival had to create limits.
“It had seemed like a fluid thing, that we’d be able to participate,” said Goodman, noting that GO’s Bushwick liaison was a main organizer of Bushwick Open Studios, a yearly creative extravaganza in which 17-17 Troutman St. is a major hub.
“I understand having a cut-off, but we’re obviously a part of this community.”
Rob de Oude, whose gallery Parallel Art Space is in the Troutman warehouse, said the flier mistake had gotten his hopes up about participating in GO, but the organizers thought his building was in Brooklyn.
“It was a bit confusing since posters were put up in our building while a lot of us here are aware of being in Queens and thus hoped they had changed the rules and were able to partake,” he wrote in an email.
“Turned out they were not aware that our building lies just over the border. So be it.”
A festival organizer declined to comment, and another did not respond to an email request for comment.
As for the Bushwick Print Lab based in the warehouse, the proprietor Ray Cross noted that a partnership with other Brooklyn artists and the Brooklyn Museum would have helped for business and recognition — but he added that his company had already just partnered with the Queens Museum in the first annual Ridgewood art crawl.
“It would have been nice, but I wasn’t too distraught,” he said of GO’s rule.
“Queens was making fun of us, asking why we’re called the ‘Bushwick’ Print Lab…but we’re a part of the Bushwick community. We’re gerrymandered into this weird area.”
“It’s just because people are getting pushed out further and further,” the lab’s printmaker Kevin Caplicki chimed in, faulting the economy for forcing artists to find new cheap spots.
“Are people here missing out? I don’t know,” he said of their exclusion from the festival. “Is the Brooklym Museum missing out? Yeah.”
But another 17-17 Troutman artist Sarah Hall said participation in GO would only be fair.
“We think of ourselves as included in the neighborhood,” she said. “It’s our neighborhood. Bushwick.”