Brooklyn galleries bring art online to spark creativity in artists

Crys Yin, Meat No.13, 2020 was created with water-based crayon on paper and ties into the “Intimacy Without Proximity” program.
Courtesy of the artist and A.I.R. Gallery.

Brooklyn art galleries are dispatching their events and programs to support artists who may be experiencing a creative block cooped up in their homes during the ongoing pandemic. 

“When we decided to close the space in early March, the immediate concern was how we could keep our audiences engaged,” said Roxana Fabius, executive director of AIR Gallery in Dumbo. “It is really intended to keep people engaged not only with us, but also with each other.” 

AIR Gallery in Dumbo launched an “Intimacy Without Proximity program compiling exhibits, workshops and events produced in partnership with members of the gallery’s art network. 

“Many of the people who are curating or organizing these with us, our partners in these projects, are people who have been a part of the AIR community for some time now, and are coming back and engaging our community through these networks,” said Nicole Kaack, associate director of the gallery. 

In an effort to spark creativity in the art community, art gallery alumni Alison Owen is issuing new prompts every other night to inspire artists in their own studio work. 

“The program is really wonderful in diversifying the idea of what practice can be to folks who don’t have access to their studio,” said Kaack, “opening a way to get creative with lower stakes potentially.”

Staying connected is especially important for artists as they often draw from their surroundings in their creations, according to gallery directors.

“It is precisely the kind of lack of access to cultural output that is limiting their own ability of feeling of being able to make,” Kaack said. “So much of art practice is a dialogue of what you see around you, and not seeing is like the greatest preventer.”

Other art curators in the neighborhood have also compiled virtual media to continue to bring art into people’s lives during the days of self-isolation. 

Klompching Gallery organized a virtual exhibit called “Artists on Artists,” in which creators selected one of their artworks and shared their personal interpretation of the piece. Some of the works in the exhibit are also available for sale, proceeds of which will help support the gallery through the pandemic. 

Meanwhile, arts organization Smack Mellon is featuring the work of popular artist Summer McCorkle, who was debuting a new exhibit at the gallery at the onset of the crisis, on their website. Her video, “des abends” is available online here