GOWANUS — A record number of artists are set to welcome the public to their workspaces for Gowanus Open Studios this weekend, and this year organizers are hoping to turn visitors into art collectors.
"We're so focused on artists and the artists presenting themselves, but we wanted to do something for the other side of the equation — the buyers," said Abby Subak, director of Arts Gowanus, which organizes the annual event.
This year there will be a Collecting Art 101 presentation by curators and collectors, to help people intimidated by the idea of buying paintings, sculptures or photography.
The weekend will include three parties — one at Gowanus Ballroom, one at Gowanus Loft, and one at Gowanus Studio Spaces — where artists and visitors can relax and mingle.
On both Saturday and Sunday, visitors can take a walking tour of neighborhood murals with Groundswell, a local nonprofit that pairs teens with professional painters to create public art.
And when visitors get thirsty or hungry during their wanderings through Gowanus, they can stop at restaurants and bars recommended by the artists themselves. The artist-endorsed eating and drinking establishments will be listed on the paper maps showing where the studios are.
There is also an online version of the map, and a directory of participating artists, on the Arts Gowanus website.
Now in its 17th year, Gowanus Open Studios has grown steadily, with a record 220 painters, sculptures, printmakers, photographers and other creative types participating this weekend. Their studios are tucked inside former warehouses and apartment buildings sprinkled throughout their neighborhood.
Organizer Abby Subak said Gowanus Open Studios gives the public a unique opportunity to learn about art directly from the people who make it.
"It's a completely different experience than meeting the artist in a gallery," Subak said."It's a more comfortable, casual interaction. It's a person talking to a person."
Gowanus Open Studios runs from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18 and Sunday, Oct. 19.