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Take it by storm: Your guide to this weekend’s Sandy-centric Dumbo Arts Festival

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The approaching one-year anniversary of superstorm Sandy is not lost on organizers of the Dumbo Arts Festival, which runs today through Sunday.

More than 300 artists are taking over the waterfront neighborhood with installations, projections, and gallery shows as part of the annual extravaganza. Notable among them are several works made in direct response to the storm that wreaked havoc across the city and the Northeast late last October.

“The festival did not set it out as a theme in any way,” festival director Lisa Kim said. “But we did have several projects that came in that were related to the hurricane.”

Among them was Kim Holleman’s “Extra Perimeters,” a series of floating grids made from those foam swimming noodles kids use in pools. The installation will lace the East River between the Brooklyn Bridge and Jane’s Carousel, which was famously surrounded by water during the storm, creating a symbolic barrier against future floods.

Lillian Gerson’s installation, “Radio Wave,” will provide people the opportunity to share their Hurricane Sandy experiences as the artist sets up a “pirate radio station” on Main Street between Plymouth and Water streets. The temporary studio will consist of both real recording equipment and cardboard replicas for a playful feel.

“In this way, it’s not so serious,” said Gerson, who lives in Far Rockaway, Queens, another area hit hard by the storm. “It can be imaginative.”

At its Front Street gallery, the Brooklyn Arts Council is organizing a group show, featuring artist work that reacts to Sandy. The exhibition, titled “For and About,” will focus on the most storm-stricken communities.

Smack Mellon Gallery is not presenting any Hurricane-inspired work, but it will welcome visitors back into its artists studios, which were flooded during the storm, for the first time since last year’s Dumbo Arts Festival.

“We are really thrilled that this will be the first open studios back in our home since the flood,” said Kathleen Gilrain, executive director of the gallery, which temporarily relocated in the neighborhood while rebuilding. “It was a very big community effort. We wouldn’t have done it without the arts community.”

Dumbo Arts Festival [Dumbo between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, and on the waterfront, www.dumboartsfestival.com]. Sept. 27–29, Fri. 6 pm–9 pm, Sat. noon–9 pm, Sun. noon–6 pm. Free.

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