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'Wondering Around Wandering' Turns Warehouse Into Community Workshop

By Sonja Sharp | October 18, 2012 9:16am

CROWN HEIGHTS —  The forecast may be cloudy in Crown Heights, but visitors to Mike Perry's Wondering Around Wandering exhibition on this industrial stretch of Dean Street will want to bring sunglasses.

"I try to make happy work that’s uplifting and exciting and colorful and positive," Perry said of the DayGlo paintings and multicolored mobiles that fill the warehouse-turned-gallery.

“I had a book that came out in May that has the same title as the show, and when the book came out I wanted to do a release party,” Perry said of the project. “It kind of transformed and turned into this amalgamation of what we have here."

What began as a gallery soon transformed into an open community events space with a full roster of classes, workshops and performances that will run through Nov. 20.

"The idea is that it’s about journey and discovery and trying to stay observant to the world," Perry said. "That’s been the most exciting part of the project, what happens when you have an open door to the world.”

Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign this summer, as well as support from Urban Outfitters and Duval, the warehouse has already opened its doors to dance troupes and typographers, stream-of-consciousness scribblers and aspiring artists of all stripes.

"I did a Kickstarter project and raised $32,000, and that helped build an immediate support group of people who are excited about the project," Perry said. "The workshop ideas grew to be bigger and more than just an event that’s about my work. It's about the relationships I’ve developed over the last 10 years, people I know, how I can connect them to the neighborhood."

Even Crown Heights littlest residents are getting in on the action: This Halloween, Wondering Around Wandering will invite local kids in for a pumpkin painting party.

“I thought about doing it in the city, but I felt like my home’s here, my community’s here,” Perry said. "I’ve never really felt like I belonged to a community-community, and I think that’s really exciting."