By Katarina Hybenova
To save you from embarrassment, I’ll tell you right from the start that George Ferrandi is not only an amazing artist and the director of Brooklyn Wayfarers, she is also a woman. And when George was moving her studio from Williamsburg to Bushwick two years ago, she undertook to create something more than just another studio building. She undertook to create a community of artists of a similar mind set, and a loving place that nourishes one’s creativity.
One of the newest Bushwick artist studio buildings, serves also as a woodshop and a gallery space. Brooklyn Wayfarers is located on Dekalb Avenue, all the way past Broadway right past a church and across the street from a tire shop. When walking from studio to studio at Wayfarers, you can feel the touch of George Ferrandi’s curation who also teaches sculpture at RISD. Many of the resident artists are excellent sculptors who use natural materials like wood or clay (Craig Hein, David ‘Scout’ McQueen), but you can also find classically trained painters like Charlotte Evans from England who paints restrained landscapes.
“We took our time,” said George regarding the operation of the gallery. They scraped, sanded, painted and drywalled for five months, so the first artists could move in in May, 2011. When the community of people was almost complete, they started to organize art shows. The idea is that every artist in a private studio is entitled to a solo show after a year in the building, or they can curate a show. But generally, George is open to ideas and basically anything can happen. “We just had a panel about kinetic sculpture, and a dance party before,” said George.
Wayfarers is a good place, surrounded by a beautiful peaceful energy. The building feels more like a home to an artist collective rather than a set of separate studios.
How to get a studio in this Bushwick paradise? “You send us your portfolio, and if we’re interested in the work, we would like to meet you to see if we’re a good fit,” says George about the application process. There are two tiers of membership in the program; private studios are affordable and go for $325 on average. Shared studio space in the shop is about $125 and comes with a storage unit. Both levels of membership include unlimited access to the facilities (the kitchen/common area with wifi, woodshop, silk screen printing facility), and entitle you to participation in several annual group shows.
Next art show at Wayfarers called Two Become One opens this Sunday, July 15, 6-9pm. It is a group exhibition of RISD MFA. Opening hours are Saturdays and Sunday 12-6pm.