Atlantic Avenue will be abuzz with art and culture for most of the month as Arts Gowanus marks the return of its annual ArtWalk — a blocks-long outdoor exhibit showcasing the work of more than 100 local artists beginning this weekend.
“ArtWalk serves the community in three major ways,” Executive Director of Arts Gowanus Johnny Thorton told Brooklyn Paper. “It provides a platform for Brooklyn artists to reach a wide and diverse audience, it boosts the local economy and brings new business to the wonderful merchants of Atlantic Avenue, and it gives locals an opportunity to connect with artists, small businesses, and one another. It’s a fun and meaningful way to spend a weekend!”
Continuing with ArtWalk’s theme of bringing hope and renewal to the local community amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s ArtWalk will celebrate and honor the seasonal events and holidays currently taking place. Paintings, photography, drawings, sculptures and large installations will pay tribute to Father’s Day, Juneteenth, and Pride Month.
ArtWalk is free and open to the public, and is funded by nearby non-profit organizations like Arts Gowanus, the Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District and the Atlantic Avenue Local Development Corporation.
The 1.5-mile self-guided ArtWalk kicked off on Friday, and will run from June 18 through 26, along Atlantic from Fourth Avenue to the waterfront. The showcase will span the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, and Cobble Hill — and, because cause it’s an outdoor gallery on the street, ArtWalk will be open for viewing 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Featured exhibits include:
“My Father and Me” at Adam Yauch Park (27 State St.), which features photos of people with their father figures.
“Stoop Stories” at Hoyt Street Garden (98 Hoyt St.), a documentary project that highlights New York City neighbors and the power of storytelling.
“The Lost Sheep” at The ExLax Building (423 Atlantic Ave.), which features a mural inspired by the parable of the same name as a way to communicate encouragement and hope to the community.
There are also all-day events taking place throughout the ArtWalk, such as an exploration into the history of rhythmic dancing on June 19 in celebration of Juneteenth. The performance will feature rhythmic dance dancer Tamangoh’s urban tap “Jazzamazon,” with Lafayette Harris on piano, Hernan Jay Rodriquez on sax, and Jennifer Vincent on bass. Photographs of tap and jazz greats will also be displayed by Karen Zebulon, alongside paintings honoring Juneteenth by Tamangoh.
Through it all, Thorton said, local artists — and businesses — get a well-timed boost.
“ArtWalk provides a big spotlight for the work of local artists. This exposure leads to increased sales, future commissions, etc. and it also fosters community among artists and businesses alike,” he said. “Nothing makes us happier than seeing an artist and business who were matched during the last ArtWalk partner together again, or seeing artists collaborate because they met through ArtWalk. Building relationships and bringing people together is the best part of what we do.”
And the timing of ArtWalk’s return is crucial, he said.
“Without art and artists, New York City would be a much less dynamic place to live,” Thorton said. “Art is vital to our community and needs to be supported now more than ever.”
If you can’t make it to this year’s ArtWalk, have no fear: Arts Gowanus honors and displays local artist’s work year-round. Some events, like the Gowanus climate futures collage workshop that took place this past May, even allow participants to create their own art.
For more information on exhibits and single-day events at the ArtWalk, visit artsgowanus.org.