The New York Post
North Brooklyn's newest condo development is open for rent, but first, the artists are taking over.
Castle Braid (114 Troutman), the glass honeycomb-like 146-unit luxury building, just over the Williamsburg-Bushwick border, is the temporary site of a multi-story arts exhibition called The Brooklyn Artillery.
Each loft apartment, starting at $1650 for 1-bedrooms, has been transformed into a gallery space featuring scores of Williamsburg-based artists and curated by members of the Williamsburg Gallery Association which will be on display until October 30.
"The October events at Castle Braid provide a unique opportunity not to just observe, but to join in the creation of the emerging voices of art, film, music and performance in Brooklyn and beyond," said Amy Kisch, WGA communications director. "Whether mucking it up at the free drawing classes or flopping down to watch Saturday morning cartoons, the goal is creative inclusion and creative community."
The building represents the third arts-themed development in North Brooklyn for developer Meyer Schwartz, who decided to celebrate its opening by offering a collaboration with local artists and arts organizations.So far, according to Castle Braid Marketing Director Taylor Clark, the reaction in the community has been positive.
"Normally in this situation, a new building like this, people can feel they are getting pushed out, but nothing was here before the building," said Clark."It was just a hole in the ground.The community has been encouraged by the artists and it's been a warm welcome."
Other arts groups are joining the fun too.On Saturday, October 3, from 1 p.m. to 2 a.m., Castle Braid will welcome the Urban Arts Fest.Sponsored by Mark Batty Publishing (MBP), a book publishing company which prints several popular titles on street art and skateboard photography, the two-part festival with include a variety of live painting from skateboard demonstrations, and music, as well as photography and art installations.
For $15 ($10 in advance), fans attending the festival can receive a free book, "Talk Back: The Bubble Project," and there will be many other books for sale and contests held at the event.
MBP Public Relations Manager Adri Cowan said that MBP had been trying to find an event to promote the artists featured in many skateboarding and street art books before connecting with Castle Braid. Cowan also noted that that Castle Braid is the former site of a fabric trimming factory, which is referenced in one of her favorite books, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn."
"I am personally most proud of the two live graffiti walls, one of which will be painted with the Tree Grows in Brooklyn theme. We have selected local Brooklyn artists and an artist from London to paint this wall live," said Cowan.
While some local artists have criticized the Brooklyn Artillery for not including enough Bushwick-based artists in the planning process and using artists to market a luxury condo building, Clark believes the partnership is beneficial for artists in the community.
"Even if you can't afford to live here, you can still appreciate the art festival," said Clark."If you can afford to live here, we provide amenities beneficial to artists such as a multimedia lab, cameras, lights, and recording studios for musicians. Because we have all that, itís more than just a gimmick.Itís real and tangible.Itís free, and super positive for the community to have that."