Brooklyn Whole Foods Partnering with Local Artists

By Leslie Albrecht on December 3, 2013 9:37am 

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 The new store will display local art and host "drink and draw" sessions on its rooftop.
New Whole Foods Partnering with Gowanus Artists
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GOWANUS — The new Whole Foods will be selling local flavor in more ways than one.

In addition to hawking locally-produced food such as Brooklyn Brine pickles and Brooklyn Cured charcuterie, the store will be decorated with local art, and neighborhood artists will be a regular presence there.

Whole Foods is partnering with the nonprofit Arts Gowanus to host monthly "drink and draw" sessions at the store's rooftop bar, spokesman Michael Sinatra said Monday.

A different artist each month will lead a group class on a specific topic, such as still life, watercolor, or collage, said Arts Gowanus director Abby Subak. The class will be free, and students will be able to buy beverage specials at the bar.

Arts Gowanus has also been invited to participate in the store's opening, scheduled for Dec. 17 on Third Avenue and Third Street. Artists affiliated with the nonprofit will be on hand to welcome shoppers to the store, and hopefully, give newcomers to the neighborhood a quick sense of what Gowanus is all about, Subak said.

"Our mission is to have a Gowanus that's creative and nurturing to artists," Subak said. "I appreciate the fact that Whole Foods is looking at what's going on in Gowanus as a neighborhood already and picking up on that and drawing that in."

It's not known yet exactly which artists will have work displayed at the new store, but one has been confirmed. Gowanus' Twig Terrariums, which makes tiny worlds out of plants and figurines encased in glass, will display some pieces in the gourmet grocery, the shop's co-owner told DNAinfo.

Sinatra said Whole Foods tries to build partnerships with local nonprofits and education groups that are in line with the store's "core values."

"When we talk about 'local,' it's not just about food for us," Sinatra said. "It's also about finding all those interesting businesses in the neighborhood and helping them grow, by bringing them into our store and introducing them to our shoppers."

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