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Q&A with Abby Subak: Director of Arts Gowanus

Artist Abby Subak poses for a photo inside

Artist Abby Subak poses for a photo inside the Brooklyn Arts Space in Gowanus Brooklyn on May 6, 2014. By Anthony Lanzilote Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

What brought you to Gowanus?
I have been making art my whole life and in the past 10 years I have been focusing on my art. Now I am working with fiber, needlepoint and knitting. When I first moved to Park Slope I was doing my art at the end of my dining room table but in 2009 my search for a studio ended at 543 Union St., the Proteus Gowanus building, right across from the canal. This building is part gallery, part incubator, part work space. An eclectic place, it is the home of Clareware, a pottery studio plus retail space and the Hall of Gowanus, a rather grand  name for a funky little museum of all things Gowanus.
What do you like about Gowanus?

I love the community feeling here, the simmering creativity that permeates everything. Even the restaurants and businesses are small and creative. Two years ago I agreed to be the Director of the Open Studios event for a group called Arts Gowanus. Every year, on the third weekend of October, neighborhood artists open their studios to the public. We had 230 artists participating last year and anticipate more for 2014.
What are your thoughts about the future of Gowanus?
I am part of Bridging Gowanus, a group that is bringing the community together to plan for the future. We are optimistic that we can create a Gowanus that retains what is so special about the area. No one is “discovering Gowanus;” there is a strong, deeply invested community here already. My Gowanus utopia would be a thriving maker community with more gathering places, more green public spaces. Gowanus has all the signs of becoming a model not just for artists and industry working together but as a showplace for how a community can care for its own environment.


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