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Meet the Arts Org: Gowanus Ballroom

Brooklyn Arts Council

Jun 2007

Original Post

Posted on:
December 11, 2012
Posted in:
Featured Arts Orgs

When was the organization founded and by whom?

2010 by Josh Young of Serett Metalworks

Where in Brooklyn are you located?

55 9th Street, Building 61 in Gowanus.

Who is your primary audience?

Artists, musicians, performers and art lovers in Brooklyn and beyond.

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

Gowanus Ballroom is run out of a metal shop. This is probably the most challenging aspect of the space, but it definitely adds character to our exhibitions. At one point we were pursuing an artist for a show that we really wanted to include. He responded by asking what type of climate control system we have. There might be an old air-conditioner lying around, but the truth is, we operate out of an old, dusty, industrial building on a shoe string budget.

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

We have access to so many wonderful artists, performers, musicians, builders, and sculptors who live close by. To have them all come together and contribute to our shows is incredibly rewarding. Many of them have become close friends who we see regularly. We’ve also been lucky to not only showcase young and emerging artists but established ones as well, and the one thing that unites them is that we give them all the freedom and space to really build and create whatever they want—no spatial constraints or restrictions are imposed by us. We give artists and performers free reign. Helping them realize their visions with no limitations is what keeps us doing what we do.

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

Sales of art at galleries dictate what art we see and how we see it. By not taking a percentage of sales, we take the 'money' out of the show and allow the artist and buyers to deal directly with each other. Gowanus Ballroom sees this as a way to empower the individual artist to move forward with creative ideas they might normally suppress. It is a pleasure to assemble a show like this!

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

To help us recover from Sandy and rebuild what was lost, we’re engaged in a series of fundraising campaigns. We hosted an event on Saturday, November 24th, and are heartened by the outpouring of support shown to us by artists, performers and visitors. We also have an IndieGoGo fundraising campaign:

We would like to thank everyone who has contributed and supported us so far. There’s still a lot of work to do, but with hard work and luck, it looks like we’ll pull through. We’re optimistic in finalizing our schedule for the New Year, which will include a number of exhibitions and a video and projection mapping art festival in early March.

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