New Artists Studios Opening in Gowanus Let Artists Both Work and Mingle

By Leslie Albrecht on June 10, 2013 8:05am 

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 About 30 semi-private studio spaces will open on Third Avenue and Sixth Street.
New Artists Studios Opening in Gowanus
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GOWANUS — Making art can be lonely, with artists toiling away alone in their studios. But a new workspace opening this summer will give creative types a place to work without the isolation of a traditional studio.

Brooklyn Art Space is opening about 30 semi-private studios in a light-filled building on Third Avenue and Sixth Street this July. Each artist will get a separate work area, but there will also be a communal space with a kitchen, computer lab and conference room where artists can mingle.

"One of the things that makes our space so unique is that artists are able to talk to each other, see each other's work and ask advice," said Brooklyn Art Space Director Rhia Hurt. "There's a real sense of support."

The new studios are an expansion of Brooklyn Art Space's headquarters on Seventh Street and Third Avenue. The arts organization operates 30 semi-private studios there, as well as an exhibition gallery and a quiet room for writers. Brooklyn Art Space also hosts weekly figure drawing sessions, critiques for artists seeking feedback, and workshops on topics from oil painting to water color.

Since taking over as director about a year ago, Hurt has worked to draw more artists and foster a sense of community. She's added professional development classes (one is called Business for Artists) and beefed up gallery programming to engage more artists. The group is active in public events like Gowanus Open Studios, during which about 1,600 people visited its Seventh Street space, Hurt said.

Monthly rents for the new studios on Third Avenue will range from $350 to $650 depending on the size, which Hurt says is relatively affordable.

Hurt, who studied painting at the San Francisco Art Institute, noted that at least two-thirds of her classmates have put making art on the back burner since graduation because of financial pressures. She's hoping Brooklyn Art Space can alleviate some of those money concerns for working artists.

"My goal is to have affordable space so artists can really make work," Hurt said. "If you live in New York City and you have a roommate it's really hard to make art out of your apartment. It's so easy to give up."

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