Discovering Sunset Park Community
One of the reasons I’m so excited to be involved in GO as the neighborhood coordinator for Sunset Park is the chance to get to know my neighborhood better. I’ve been living in Sunset Park for over ten years and one of the things I like best about it is just how chill it can be. It’s a nice respite from the crunch of the city, but the downside of that is that many people tend to keep to themselves or within their own communities. While Sunset Park is a very diverse neighborhood, each group there can seem somewhat insular.
I will admit that at the beginning of artist registration I underestimated how many artists are working in Sunset Park. Over 160 artists with studios in Sunset Park signed up to participate in GO, which was a pleasant surprise! I had the pleasure to meet some of them at our Sunset Park GO artist and voter meet up on Monday night and everyone was excited to see a more tangible example of artists community in the neighborhood.
Many of the artists in Sunset Park have studios as part of the Chashama program at the Brooklyn Army Terminal (pictured above). As they explain on their website, Chashama’s mission is to support creativity in New York City by repurposing vacant properties; recycling them as artist work and show spaces, granting them at free or highly-subsidized rates, and invigorating the surrounding community with an influx of innovative programs, culture, creativity and commerce.
Artists also have studios in the New York Art Residency and Studios Foundation program (NARS), which I profiled on the GO blog, and the Bush Terminal building, as well as other industrial and residential spaces scattered around the neighborhood.
Together the artists in GO are excited about what we can do to promote Sunset Park as an art destination. We have big plans for a Tumblr, more meet ups and a neighborhood blog, so more on that soon.
Additionally, I think that GO will be an opportunity to bring organizations focused on community organizing, development and education together with the neighborhood’s artists and arts organizations and let Sunset Park really showcase its diversity and dynamism.
Sunset Park has long had visible, active community organizations such as UPROSE and Neighbors Helping Neighbors. There are also several newer orgazations joinging the mix and some of them, including Rice and Dreams, La Union, Raza Youth Collective and Cetiliztli Nauhcampa held a join fundraising party last Saturday (if you went you may have noticed the GO flyers!). GO is a great reason to connect artists working in Sunset Park with these community focused organizations like these and let everyone know they can get out, see art, meet artists and perhaps even collaborate on projects in the future.