Artists, manufacturers and makers of all types were celebrated as Industry City held its second open studios event from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday, April 18, with more than 100 artists opening their doors for visitors to tour their studios.
Looking to build off last year’s successful open studios, Industry City took a more active role this year, bringing in food makers and the West Elm Maker Studio – allowing visitors space to recharge their smartphones and print their “Insta-Photos” from the day and add them to an art installation.
“I think that this was the day to celebrate the rapidly growing community of makers at Industry City and the people that I came across – both the makers and artists and photographers as well as the people visiting – were all just thrilled with the environments, thrilled with the vibe, and we were really happy that thousands of people from the surrounding communities came out to Industry City today to celebrate with us,” said Andrew Kimball, CEO of Industry City.
According to Gary O’Shust – a member of the open studios committee and owner of Sparkworkshop, a collective creative space — there’ve been talks of doing open studios twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall, but nothing was yet confirmed.
“I think people are plenty interested to see what goes on down here and I think in addition to the artwork, seeing all the other elements are kind of cool for other people to see as well,” said O’Shust. “I think that the art community in Sunset Park is definitely growing. I know Industry City definitely has an interest in incubating small artists and small business here and giving them a little place to start and grow from.”
Other local businesses who use Industry City for manufacturing and more also appreciated the big turnout.
“It’s a different crowd than usual, but still fun,” mentioned Chris Taylor, co-owner of Li-Lac Chocolates, noting that having his store there was almost like a “billboard for the brand,” letting customers look through outside windows to see how the chocolates were made.
“Being part of a community like this really helps,” said Alexandra Ferguson, whose company manufactures handmade pillow cases, travel cases and tote bags, and who hires some of her seamstresses from Sunset Park.
With temperatures that reached 75 degrees, visitors also enjoyed the outdoors area as well. This year’s open studios just a glimpse of what’s to come, according to Kimball.
“I think that this is just the beginning of what we hope will be years of growth at Industry City, where entrepreneurs and innovators can start businesses and expand them and create great local jobs for people from the community,” said Kimball. “We’re delighted to pull the curtain back and be able to show people what happens behind the doors of Industry City.”