Art has come alive on Bay Ridge’s own Fifth Avenue.
The Storefront Art Walk (SAW) celebrated its sixth consecutive year on the strip on Saturday, May 16 as local residents, artists, their family and friends gathered in front of the Community Board 10 District Office to kick off the stroll.
SAW, a month-long display, originated in 2010 and has since grown to become the “intersection of art, community and commerce,” according to co-founder John Avelluto.
“In 2010, (co-founder) Heather Hamilton and I noticed a strong need for an artistic outlet in Bay Ridge,” said the Brooklyn College alum and artist. “There were no public spaces that allowed practicing artists to exhibit their work and no places for people to view work that was being done in a borough that has accrued a huge notoriety for its cultural output within the arts.
“Arts programming in public schools were retracting,” he went on. “Over time, people that I had known and grown up within these areas began even accepting the ill-conceived notion that this part of Brooklyn doesn’t care about the arts. This, to all of us, was tragic and only spelt doom for the memories of culture that went undocumented in South Brooklyn.”
SAW’s goal, Avelluto said, is “to support and promote emerging and mid-career Brooklyn artists while celebrating Bay Ridge businesses.”
“What’s better than to have merchants and art together – because the merchants provide the venue and the artists provide the palette,” said Councilmember Vincent Gentile whose office storefront saw a display by local artist Salim Hasbini. “That’s what’s great about Bay Ridge – we find ways to promote the culture. It’s not only Downtown Brooklyn – it’s Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.”
The afternoon culminated with an after-party and fundraiser at Owl’s Head Wine Bar, 479 74th Street, at which all of the proceeds went directly to SAW. This year’s sponsors included the Fifth Avenue BID, the Red Hook Winery, Sixpoint Brewery and Bubbles & Suds Laundromat.
Participating storefronts include: The Arab American Association of NY (artwork by Katherine Toukhy); Verrazano Bicycle Shop (artwork by Ray Lin); The Owl’s Head Wine Bar (artwork by Christina Massey); Bubbles & Suds Laundromat (artwork by Maris Tesauro); Enchanted Florist (artwork by Margaux Walter); Sichenze & Sichenze (artwork by Julia Whitney Barnes); Fritsch Custom Upholstery (artwork by Sebastian Carrasco); Long’s Wines (artwork by Jeannine Bardo); Alex Hair Salon (artwork by Amanda Hunt); Hair Culture (artwork by Deanna Lee); Le Petit Salon (artwork by Isabelle Garbani); Councilmember Vincent Gentile’s office (artwork by Salim Hasbini); Lincoln Brokerage Corp (artwork by Yeol Jung); Dante Zeller Tuxedo (artwork by Liz Atzberger); and Optical Center (artwork by Kristine Robinson).
The exhibition will run through June 28. For more information, visit www.bayridgesaw.org.