|Standing room only.|
By Charles Kessler
Last night The Bogart Salon, one of seven (!) galleries now at 56 Bogart Street in Bushwick, held a packed panel discussion on the "Nature and Future of the Bushwick Art Scene." It was expertly moderated by Hrag Vartanian, the founder and editor of Hyperallergic, and the panelists were Deborah Brown, director of the Storefront Bushwick Gallery; Burr Dodd of Brooklyn Fire Proof; writer-journalist for WNYC and Artnews, Carolina A. Miranda; and Marco Antonini, director of NURTUREart. You can find a pretty good summary at #bushwickarts (how can Paddy Johnson tweet so fast?).
One thing that surprised me was the carping about building codes. In the first place, compared to Jersey City they have it great, but more important, the reason why Bushwick is still relatively cheap is a lot of the activities (concerts, parties, live-work spaces, etc.) are not officially sanctioned. Everyone knows (or should know) that fire codes are important, but sometimes minor violations for what seem like trivial violations (Burr Dodd complained about being busted for fruit flies in his restaurant) can be frustrating. But they should keep in mind that when something is officially approved it becomes a lot more expensive.
Peter Hopkins, director of The Bogart Salon, took a great deal of care with the seating at the event, even going so far as putting names on the seats. He said he wanted to get people together whom he felt should know each other. I thought that was a terrific idea and typical of the way networking (in a good way) is encouraged in Bushwick and the way people are so helpful there.