CROWN HEIGHTS — It's a blank canvas for up-and-coming artists.
Crown Heights gallery FiveMyles is searching for emerging local artists to fill its fifth-annual "Space Program," a series of short-term shows this spring and summer at the 558 St. Johns Place arts space. The program's goal is to give young creatives a leg up in a difficult industry by providing them with free space, while also making the most out of downtime between other shows.
"The gallery was available, and in the summer months the activity in the gallery was slower," said program manager Marine Cornuet. "The gallery director decided to open it to young artists from the neighborhood who were looking for space to start showing work."
The program has produced major projects including the Crown Heights Film Festival, while also giving local artists like Michael Stablein a place to experiment with new work.
"The Space Program was really an opportunity for us to start exploring new ground that we were breaking with the group American Laboratory," said Stablein, speaking about his group, which put on two performance art pieces in the space in 2011.
"We were a lot of theater people who were used to long rehearsal periods, and we were not used to the limits imposed on a piece in a gallery.... One thing FiveMyles was able to give us was the opportunity to take our time in a space that normally doesn’t give us time."
The gallery's selection process gives preference to riskier works, as well as those that connect with the neighborhood. The gallery will accept submissions by email through the end of February, and the shows will take place in May, June, July and August.
"We have a lot of young people, though we also have older artists who want to take a new turn in their career and try something new," Cornuet said. "We open our doors and help people set up, and then we let them really try something. The Crown Heights Film Festival really worked that way."
For Stablein, who lives just two blocks away, it was a chance to make art in his own backyard.
"The Space Program gave us a lot of opportunity to take a lot of risks and make a lot of failures, so we were able to come up with a project we were really proud of," Stablein said. "It feels for a time like you’re getting a studio that’s also a gallery."
For more information, visit the FiveMyles gallery or call 718-783-4438.