Welcome back on our Paddle8 tour of Brooklyn and its neighboring communities as part of our celebration of BAM‘s 150th anniversary! We are on our second to last stop: Sunset Park.
Historically, New York’s Sunset Park and its neighboring districts first served the city as an essential center for shipping, warehousing and manufacturing. Located south of Prospect Park, bordering Gowanus Expressway, and the famous Greenwood Cemetery, it rapidly grew at the beginning of the 20th century with its influx of immigrants, but declined to develop as the industry of shipping evolved. But it was this industrial heritage of maritime trade that sparked a creative niche that first attracted artists to flock to this ghostly location in the last few years. Like a giant SOHO or DUMBO, Sunset Park boasts a giant 6.5 million square foot, 16 building complex called Industry City, and with it came empty factory spaces, light flooded studios, pre-war architecture, and epic views of the New York Bay Area.
With these sprawling spaces, the rebirth of an arts community within Industry City was conceived. Heavily perfumed by the sugary syrup scents of Virginia Dare, a maker of food flavoring products originated in the 1920s, and one of the last remaining connections to the once thriving city-within-a-city complex, the new 46 artists spaces of Industry City brought together roots from the hey-day shipping culture of the New York peninsula with a collection of carefully selected avant-garde artists working today.
Industry City has a strict non-residential, rent controlled policy, and housed the original location of alternative video and sound space, Light Industry. Recently moving to Greenpoint, and neighbors to Triple Canopy, Light Industry was founded by Thomas Beard and Ed Halter, and attracted weekly Brooklynites for regular film-screenings, performances and lectures, and helped explore new modes of presentation for time-based media. The creative community of Industry City offers an “Incubator Program,” a kind of artist commune that includes the working studios of well known performance artists K8 Hardy and Sharon Hayes, sculptor Jarrod Beck, and installation and multimedia artist Paul Chan.
To reach Sunset Park, take the Chinatown bus from Manhattan, hop on the NY Watertaxi, or cross the Gowanus Expressway, and be sure to stop by Brooklyn’s Chinatown, New York’s Little Latin America, and the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Next and final stop of our Paddle8 tour: Red Hook!
Be sure to bid on some of the amazing works featured in the BAMart Benefit Auction – bidding closes at 6:00pm on Sunday!