ST. GEORGE — Members of a local art organization cut the ribbon on their new gallery, artist's market and office space at the St. George Ferry Terminal on Wednesday night, ahead of their official public opening on Saturday.
Roughly 70 people got to tour Staten Island Arts' new Culture Lounge at the ferry terminal for the first time ahead of the grand opening. The 2,500-square-foot space starts with a shop featuring local artists goods and clothing, an exhibit on sustainable living by Tattfoo Tan and office space for the group.
"From the very first day I started I had so many artist come to me and say 'I want to have my work at the Ferry Terminal, how do I do it?'" said Melanie Cohn, director of Staten Island Arts. "And today we can say come to Culture Lounge."
Borough President James Oddo helped cut the ribbon, and said that his office was fully behind helping local artists showcase their talents.
"I know there is a very vibrant arts community in Staten Island," he said.
The space officially opens on Saturday, and has several events planned throughout the weekend, including a family day on Sunday where Tan will give an overview on how to raise chickens in an urban environment.
"A lot of people do not know how to start, do not know what to do," Tan said. "You need to know some basic knowledge, like how to build a coop. It's good to learn to that."
Tan's exhibit brings together several of his older work under the banner S.O.S. — Sustainable Organic Stewardship — which tries to get people to live greener and reduce their environmental impact. The exhibit showcases steps Tan himself made to reduce his footprint, including composting, urban gardening, and raising a flock of chickens for their manure and eggs — which he documents nearly daily on his Twitter at 5 p.m.
"It's definitely an honor to being the first [exhibit]," Tan said. "Being a public space, transit sector, it's definitely something that speaks to my program, to what I do. I definitely encourage the public to be more green and more sustainable."
The space aims to attract tourists and stop them from taking the ferry and immediately grabbing the next boat back to Manhattan, as well as the daily commuters who ride the ferry, Cohn said
The gallery space will be free to the public, and the artist market in the front features T-shirts from local artists and companies, like Stereotype and Richmond Hood Company, along with postcards, tote bags and Kevin Mahoney's cutouts of Staten Island made from Sandy steel.
The Staten Island Arts Culture Lounge opens to the public on Saturday, June 7, from noon to 5 p.m., with local musicians like Harry Oppenheimer performing.