Not to be confused with Bushwick Open Studios, the Bushwick Arts Festival begins tonight in various locations throughout the neighborhood. Over seventy artists will be showing their work at sixteen studios and galleries.
The kickoff event is tonight at 6pm at BLAM Brooklyn (56 Bogart Street, Brooklyn) and will feature new work by artist Paul Catalanotto. Event maps will be distributed at the opening, which is free to the public. A map is also available on the event website.
Called “Bushwick’s best annual art crawl of the year,” by its organizers, Bushwick Arts Festival premiered in 2016 as a rival event to Bushwick Open Studios. Its organizers planned the event after Bushwick Open Studios decided to move their June festival to the fall, hoping to squash its “frat boy” vibe. DNA reported on the rivalry last year, though this year we’ve heard no reports of any hard feelings:
“Due to strong interest of artists in having a June-based opportunity to share their art with the public, BAF aims to provide a new opportunity for a large scale open studios event,” according to its website. “The primary purpose of this event is to give artists an opportunity to promote their art as well as network and communicate with the art world and the public.”
News of a rival arts festival annoyed Arts in Bushwick organizers who said they reached out roughly 20 artists and organizers in their network who hadn’t been contacted about the upcoming festival.
“They slapped together a website last week without contacting any members of the artist community,” a statement from Arts in Bushwick. “It sounds like whoever is behind it are not willing to respect or work with our established arts community of over 1,200 local artists.”
While the new festival’s website says the event is hosted “100% by local artists” the organizers aren’t specifically named. The website domain that went live on Feb. 24 was registered to Brandon Mickman, who couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Setting itself apart from the Bushwick Open Studios that restricted participation to local artists in 2014, Bushwick Arts Festival will be open to artists from all over, according to its website.
“Unlike previous open studios events in the neighborhood, BAF will not exclude artists that do not reside or work in Bushwick.”