Artists look beyond the surface in summer exhibition at Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition

why not at brooklyn waterfront artists coalition
The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition is celebrating the summer with a new, free art exhibition featuring dozens of artists and four different shows.
Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition

The picturesque waterfront gallery at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition in Red Hook just opened four fantastic exhibits that are open to the public all summer long.

BWAC is a nonprofit organization run by artists, for artists since its inception in 1978. In this monumental 45th year since the gallery opened, the public is invited to view a collection of exhibits — including some curated by BWAC’s member artists — that will be running from now until August 13. 

portraits at brooklyn waterfront artists coalition
Artist Rusty Zimmerman, of the Free Portrait Project, is taking part in the first exhibition, titled “Go Figure!”Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition

“It’s a great thing that we have the opportunity to start with so many exciting, different shows,” said Alicia Degener, the president of BWAC. “Our mission is to give artists a place to exhibit their work. So it’s also a place for people to learn to curate. The members who did the art project and had never curated before were so proud of how the show turned out, and the show looks amazing.”

Every weekend between 1 and 6 p.m., visitors can step into the BWAC gallery and will immediately be greeted by the first of four select exhibits with the ground floor collection entitled “Go Figure!”

brooklyn waterfront artists coalition paintings
Works like “Portrait of Donna McCartney”by Leonid Gervits explore the human face and figure in “Go Figure.”Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition

A clever play on words, “Go Figure!” is a partnership between two New York-based organizations, ChaShaMa and The Portrait Project, with select artists including Robert Bunkin, Leonid Gervits, Valerie Gillett, Howard Gladstone, Karen Kaapcke, Dena Schutzer, Donna Skebo, and Yu Zhang.

Local artist Rusty Zimmerman, who is in the midst of painting 200 free portraits of southern Brooklynites as part of his “Free Portrait Project,” will also display some of his work in the show. 

The gallery’s second floor is home to the remaining three exhibits: “The Arc Project: Celebrating Humans from the Mundane to the Mythical,” “Off the Grid,” and “Why Not?”

painting of woman crouching on blue background
“The Arc Project” explores the deeper themes and bonds between humans using portraiture. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition

 Within each exhibit, viewers will find the spectrum of human emotion on display and will be faced with thought-provoking philosophical questions.

“The Arc Project,” for example, is a whirlwind of expression and human emotions disguised as a portrait show. According to the artists behind the exhibit, viewers will be able to see “the essence of humanity that is our common denominator” in its full form. 

Likewise “Off the Grid,” the BWAC member exhibition, presented by artists Bonnie Ralston, Etan Ben-Ami, and Garry Valletri to encompass the spirit of nature and summer escapes — with a twist. 

The title is a double entendre that is used to remind viewers of the need for an off-grid escape but also a reminder to embrace what may be perceived as out of the ordinary. Peaceful summer landscapes are displayed right alongside paintings with foreboding undertones and deeper messages. 

sabrina puppin why not painting at brooklyn waterfront artists coalition
Member artist Rebecca Ray H displays her work in the summer exhibit. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition

Finally, “Why Not?” is the exhibit presented by BWAC member and artistic legend Sabrina Puppin. Puppin, who is fresh from a successful art fair in Barcelona, brings some of her work to this exhibition with her choice of medium varying from yarn to enamel. This exhibit is a must-see for art lovers of all ages and presents a wealth of color and textural nuance.

“Our mission is to help people get their art out there and have it seen and appreciated,” said Degener, “We’re happy to continue that 45 years strong.”

Correction, Sept. 29, 2023, 4:00 p.m.: This story previously miscredited the work of Rebecca Ray H to a different artist. We regret the error.