By Katarina Hybenova
Big crowds of people have been going to the church on the corner of Bushwick Ave and Jefferson St lately. The church has been particularly well attended on Friday and Saturday nights as opposed to Sunday mornings as you might expect…Yeah, you’re guessing correctly. It’s not a sudden religious devotion of young Bushwickians that brings them there. The church and the schoolhouse have been rented by a mysterious guy named Bobby Redd…
St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School at 626 Bushwick Avenue was built during 1885-1892. Designed by architect Theobald M. Engelhardt, it has served the Bushwick community for many years. The church building quickly became too small to educate all the children, and so a schoolhouse was set up at the southwest corner of Bushwick Avenue and Jefferson Street [Source: Bushwiki].
Moving forward to present day, the church has been vacant for several years now. With the help of his two friends who wish to remain annonymous, Bobby Redd decided to make the idea of creating a unique art and cultural center in Bushwick a reality. The inaugural art show at Bobby Redd Projects took place in March this year. Ghost Face curated by Dave Bates featured works of some of the most known Bushwick artists (Ben Godward, Don Pablo Pedro, William Powhida, etc.). The church’s altar was replaced by a stage where bands were rocking it, and in the back you could have have a Tecate. One of everyone’s favorite elements is a confession room/bar constructed by Bushwick artist Andrew Ohanesian. Having a confession room in a lutheran church doesn’t really make sense, but it’s a detail that can be overlooked.
Since their opening in March, Bobby Redd has hosted a wild Rubulad party, an eclectic theater/aerial performance Aghoria, and the plans for the near and dear future also look pretty amazing. This Saturday, the bunch around Bobby is building “a giant dome, rigging it with bungees, and drenching you in beer so you can fight to the death.” Yes, the church will be occupied with a Thunderdome. The music will be taken care of by Savage Severe and Comandante Zero with special effects by Light Harvest Studios.
During Bushwick Open Studios, the church will be hosting Holy BOS, a festival of film, aerials, amazing visual installations, a brunch by Secret Restaurant to live music, and exceptional art performances. As the website dedicated to Holy BOS nicely concludes, this sanctuary will offer a playground for the creative minds….
Last Saturday, I had a tour of the church from the cellar to the church bell tower. Look at the photos and visit this incredible place soaked with history, sacred atmosphere and creativity soon!
….more photos on our Facebook page.