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Gowanus Open Studios to Feature Bike and Wheelchair Tours of Artist Spaces

By Leslie Albrecht | October 15, 2015 5:38pm | Updated on October 16, 2015 9:55am
 Work by Joan Di Lieto, one of more than 300 artists who will open their workspaces to the public during Gowanus Open Studios.
Work by Joan Di Lieto, one of more than 300 artists who will open their workspaces to the public during Gowanus Open Studios.
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Facebook/Arts Gowanus

GOWANUS — More than 300 artists will open their work spaces to the public this weekend, welcoming visitors on foot, by bike or in wheelchairs.

The annual Gowanus Open Studios, which runs from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, offers a free, self-guided exploration of hundreds of neighborhood artists' studios and their work. This year's art-a-thon will also hold curator-led tours for art lovers on wheels.

Here's a look at the new tours and other highlights at this year's Gowanus Open Studios:

► Curator-led Tours for People on Bikes and In Wheelchairs

Gowanus Open Studios is free and self-guided, and people who want to get extra insight into the art can sign up for $20 tours led by professional curators. Each tour has a different theme, such as, "Go Figure: Examining Female Forms in the 21st Century."

For the first time this year, there will be a tour on bikes led by Rolling Orange Bike Tours, and another that's fully accessible for people in wheelchairs.

Curator Sarah Kate Beaumont will be joined by disability-rights advocate Danielle Sheypuk on the wheelchair-accessible tour. The two worked together to make sure art at each venue will be hung so people in wheelchairs can see it, and woodworkers made small ramps to ensure that wheelchairs can travel through doorways.

"We didn't want to just say it's wheelchair accessible because there's an elevator in the building, we wanted it to be honest-to-goodness wheelchair accessible," said Abby Subak, director of Arts Gowanus, which runs Gowanus Open Studios.

► Rally to Support Displaced Artists

Now in its 19th year, Gowanus Open Studios has grown from just 10 artists to about 342. However a handful of artists had to drop out this year after they lost their studio spaces in a Ninth Street building that recently changed management.

Subak said roughly 400 artists will eventually be displaced from the building, calling it a disturbing reminder of the difficulties working artists face in the city's overheated real estate climate.

On Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m., Arts Gowanus and the Artist Studio Affordability Project will co-host a rally to support the displaced artists in front of 94 Ninth St., near Second Avenue.

► Art by Young Residents of the Gowanus Houses

The recently formed Gowanus Houses Art Collective will exhibit photos by young residents of the Gowanus Houses public housing complex at St. Lydia's Dinner Church at 304 Bond St.

"The photos are an amazing glimpse into how kids from the Gowanus Houses see their neighborhood and the surrounding area," said GHAC co-founder Chris O’Falt.

► Beat Nite Visits Gowanus

The arts collective Norte Maar, which recently moved from Bushwick to East New York, is bringing its Beat Nite gallery hop to Gowanus for the first time on Friday night, when 10 galleries and art venues throughout the neighborhood will stay open until 10 p.m.

For more information on Gowanus Open Studios 2015, including a downloadable map of studios, visit Arts Gowanus.