Greenpoint is no stranger to bad press, especially in light of the recent Superfund designation of Newtown Creek, McGuinness Boulevard setting records for cyclist deaths, the discovery of oil plumes underneath the earth and the increasingly mysterious G-train. On the other hand, as Greenpoint/Williamsburg undergoes geographic, social, cultural and demographical changes, and begins to morph into a new version of itself, the future must be considered, and questions must be asked. It is in this tradition of neighborhood loyalty, community pride and investment in the vitality of North Brooklyn—not to mention the onslaught of artists, crafters and creative communities moving to Greenpoint—that inspired Rosa Valado to create an art show about the future of the neighborhood.
Volado is an artist herself, and the curator of Golden Blueprints: Grids, Blocks, Charts and Graphs, an exhibition dedicated to past, present and future in Greenpoint. The show, which opened one week ago and will run until Saturday, December 4th, is open for viewing at the headquarters of monthly neighborhood news magazine, WG News+Arts on Dobbin Street.
“Art is a powerful vehicle to draw attention to local and current issues. There’s really a historical basis,” Valado said. “Art is a way to deal with your geography and your surroundings, and to create a proactive dialogue. The art community in Greenpoint is big, and it’s vibrant.”
Golden Blueprints is, at its core, a multi-media exhibition featuring more than 30 artists and exploring themes such as culture, gentrification, degradation, pollution and environment through painting, drawing, photography, collage, video and textile. One wall displays art pieces reflecting, some more conceptually or abstractly than others, street life in Greenpoint: an embroidery depicting graffiti tags, a pen-and-ink piece inspired by the energy of Ingraham Street, photographs of chain-linked fences and run-down rooftops, a map of one man’s travels from Williamsburg to northern Greenpoint in search of Polish noodles. An adjacent wall, in contrast, presents gallery-goers with a series of pieces suggesting possibilities for the future: a rendering for a possible research center for fuel alternatives, a piece of handmade paper dipped in sludge from Newtown Creek, a video projection of concerts in East River State Park, a painting of 1,001 pierogis.
“My interest comes from the fact that this neighborhood has been incredibly polluted for so long, and this is about the possibility of turning the community around. I mean, who ever said there weren’t ideas for the future in Greenpoint, right?” Volado added.
The show was put on in conjunction with Woven Spaces, an arts organization primarily concerned with place and space, education, community-building and the connection between art and urban life. This particular incarnation of Golden Blueprints will celebrate its closing on Saturday evening, but Volado plans to bring the show back, bigger and better, next year, inviting more artists to ask difficult questions and explore their community for answers.
50-52 Dobbin Street