During last year’s Bushwick Open Studios. (Photo by Katarina Hybenova)

It’s kind of difficult to think about June right now, but for Julia Sinelnikova and the rest of the Arts in Bushwick (AiB) crew, it’s all that’s on their minds. That’s because they are busy organizing this year’s Bushwick Open Studios, our beloved annual event where artists working in Bushwick invite the public into their studios during what is always one of the most exciting weekends in the neighborhood. Hundreds of artists, galleries, pop-ups, and performers create events, exhibitions and parties to draw in the crowds and celebrate the astounding artistic spirit of  Bushwick. This year’s first BOS mixer is TONIGHT at Pine Box Rock Shop, 6-8PM. In anticipation, I sat down with Julia last week to go over some of the exciting changes that will go into effect this year to ensure that this is the best BOS ever!

If you’re not familiar with AiB, this community nonprofit organization has been planning and producing BOS for over eight years. While known primarily for this annual romp, AiB mission is focused on fostering community involvement and cooperation, both within the art and general populations of the neighborhood.  That is why AiB is committed to remaining a non-for-profit, nonhierarchical entity where every member is given a voice.

This year, AiB will be implementing several changes in order to better represent the artists in the neighborhood. “The focus [of the festival] has always been on the emerging artists and people working in Bushwick,” Julia explained. While AiB wishes to always encourage galleries, artist-run spaces, restaurants, and other pop-up venues to participate, they are required to register in the artist’s name, not under their own business or venue name. In a recent press release, AiB explained:

“BOS registrations must be made in the exhibiting artist’s name by the participating artist. All artists must have a year-round presence in Bushwick. Group exhibitions must include a minimum of 50% Bushwick-based artists. Registrants who do not fall within these guidelines are encouraged to become sponsors or apply to be hub spaces for BOS in the early spring of 2014.”

The hope with these new regulations is that community members can work together to collaborate; businesses can sponsor or collaborate with an artist’s project, and galleries can focus specifically on Bushwick artists.  While AiB puts on a number of sponsored events and other collectives and business also join in the excitement and fun, the aim this year is to keep much of the energy centered around the open studios themselves.

Similar to past years, one artist from each studio that is interested in registering for BOS must sign up for a registration code at one of the 7 upcoming mixer/tabling events. This way artists can meet, plan, and figure out different ways to promote or organize their block or street.

The first upcoming meeting next Monday, February 24th at Pine Box Rock Shop, 6-8PM is more of an informational meeting that gives artists and community members a chance to meet, ask questions and exchange ideas for this year’s festival. Registration for artists wishing to be included in the print catalogue is open from March 1st-27th. This is a month earlier than last year, giving AiB and the public more time to plan and familiarize themselves with the participants. Each listing costs $35, or registrants can volunteer for five hours with AiB.

For more information about volunteering, email [email protected]

For more general questions about registration email [email protected]