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Meet the Arts Org: United Photo Industries

Brooklyn Arts Council

Jun 2007

Original Post

Posted on:
November 6, 2012
Posted in:
Featured Arts Orgs

When was the United Photo Industries founded and by whom?

UPI was founded in the spring of 2011 by Sam Barzilay & Dave Shelley / in the Summer of 2012 UPI founded PHOTOVILLE – a free-to-attend pop-up photo destination utilizing shipping containers transformed into temporary gallery spaces – in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Where in Brooklyn are you located?

111 Front Street Galleries – Suite 204 DUMBO, Bklyn.

Who is your primary audience?

A critical part of our mission as an arts organization focused on supporting emerging photographers has been the cultivation of new audiences. Rather than aim to woe those who have a proven track record of supporting the arts as viewers or collectors, our aim has been to reach those who have an appreciation for the visual arts, but do not (yet) feel a personal connection to the arts.

What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of running an arts organization in Brooklyn?

One of the biggest challenges we face is the misconception of Brooklyn as a faraway or hard-to-reach destination for those living across the river. Without a doubt, Brooklyn's renaissance has made great strides in bridging the psychological/geographical divide, but for an older generation of New Yorkers, Brooklyn remains a world apart. 

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of running an arts organization in Brooklyn?

The most rewarding aspect of being an arts organization in Brooklyn is the arts community itself. It is exhilarating to work within such an energized community, open to innovative collaborations, and willing to challenge and redraw the boundaries of contemporary art practice.

What do you see as the biggest issues facing the arts community today?

The unprecedented number of artists alive and working today coupled with the rising cost of arts education and real estate (whether for studios or galleries), and the dwindling access to funding, and steady jobs in the arts, is creating an increasingly unsustainable environment for the arts community. Mirroring the state of modern society, the arts community faces an increasing polarization between a small handful of artists able to command ever-higher prices for their work, while the majority of working artists struggle to make ends meet or gain recognition.

Do you have any major events, projects or expansions on the horizon?

Our November exhibition “A WOMAN’S WAR” by emerging Photographer Elizabeth D. Herman opens this Friday, November 9 at 6pm till December 2, 2012. Having worked with Elizabeth on this exhibition for almost a year, we have watched the project grow and take shape as a powerful celebration of women's power and resilience, and we're truly excited to be presenting this work at a time when issues of women's rights and equality are being raised in our own country as well, through the election-fueled political discourse. 


Photoville 2013 - Watch this space!




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