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Local artists open studios to art lovers

The waterfront from Sunset Park to Red Hook, and industrial spaces in between, were among the areas that welcomed art lovers to explore the borough’s creativity during the South Brooklyn Open Studios gallery walk on June 9 and 10.

Retrofitted warehouses along the Belt Parkway were among the studios opened to the public, allowing visitors to see artists in their workspaces displaying their creations. Artists also displayed their work

The warm weekend weather attracted hundreds of guests over the two days for the event sponsored by Trestle Art Space, Treasure Island Art Studios, Pioneer Works and Chashama.

Artist and educator Rhia Hurt founded Trestle Gallery in 2012. “The inspiration is to empower artists to share their art practices and to make sales,” stated Hurt in an email, “This is the first time we attempted a South Brooklyn Open Studio event so we felt really good about the turn out.”

There were nine main locations, each with its own vibe and collection of works, in Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Gowanus, Greenwood Heights and Red Hook.

Trestle had three locations open. Trestle Art Space Sunset Park at Liberty View Plaza on Third Avenue offered not only the awesome Captain America statue in the lobby, but also two floors for artists to spread out and interact with people. Each open room usually held a handful of people discussing art and snacking on goodies provided by the artist.  

The event was free for visitors and did not require a fee from participating artists. On the first floor of the massive Trestle Art Space Greenwood & Art Studios on 18th Street, Noel Caban was set up in a cubby. A real estate agent in Brooklyn for decades before becoming an artist, Caban takes discarded materials, like plastic and paper, off the streets and heats them together to create topographical looking pieces.

“You cannot write without form. You can’t create without form,” said Caban about his process. He spoke about the changing demographics and economy in the Brooklyn community, and how he tries to capture that with his chosen form and materials.

The smaller Trestle Projects studio at 400 Third Ave. is transitioning to another location. Long term leases with reasonable rates can be hard to find in the area, said Hurt. “We have been priced out of Gowanus, once again, so this is the last month for our 400 Third Ave. location.” The move will secure a 10-year lease for the nonprofit.

Artist Karmimadeebora McMillan, stationed in an upstairs room at that location, said she was happy for the opportunity to be in the space. McMillan often bases her pieces off a Southern figure she named “Miss Merri Mack” from a children’s slave song.

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