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Help Me Help You: Q&A with Lucia Rollow

By Sean Alday

By Sean Alday

I spoke with Lucia Rollow, a powerhouse organizer within the workaholic organization: Arts in Bushwick. It turns out that she wasn’t only sending out thousands of emails for Bushwick Open Studios, but also working behind the scenes for Go! Brooklyn and right in front at the Bushwick Community Darkroom among other things.

Sean: I think I received the most emails from you regarding Bushwick Open Studios. Can you tell me what you’re working on now that it’s over for a year?

Lucia: Well, I’m still involved in the Arts in Bushwick goings on. I’m helping with the organizing of Go! Brooklyn especially in Bushwick. I run the Bushwick Community Darkroom and I’m participating in Photoville again this weekend.

Sean: What’s the deal with Go! Brooklyn? I've heard it mentioned a lot but haven’t looked into it at all.

Lucia: The premise of Go! Brooklyn is an open studios festival happening September 8-9. It’s strictly limited to studios where art is being made including craftwork and artisans. The idea is to focus on the artist’s process as opposed to the final product.

There are a lot of artists scattered throughout Brooklyn and not all of the neighborhoods have open studio events. North Brooklyn is covered well with events, Red Hook and DUMBO are as well, but there are artists’ studios all over Brooklyn. So they want to shine a light on people who don’t always have the most access to these networks without shutting anyone out.

But the deadline is the 29th. So I encourage everyone with a studio to register by this Friday.

Sean: Even if I haven’t paid much attention to the event itself, I’m aware of an app that’s generated some opinions…

Lucia: Yeah, I’ve heard a few of them myself. I understand the skepticism since it hasn’t been tried before, but this is basically the breakdown:

They’ve developed an app so that visitors can “check in” when they visit a studio. Once someone has checked in at five studios, then the user can rank their favorites.

Sean: So the idea is to generate a sense of several spaces before you start making your votes?

Lucia: Yeah, and after the votes are counted the Brooklyn Museum curators will visit the top ranked studios and based on those studio visits they will select a to-be-determined number of artists to show their work in the Brooklyn Museum.

This is the first year that this project is being undertaken. It’s a huge experiment that will hopefully open some doors for people that are otherwise unconnected.

Sean: What about the Darkroom Project?

Lucia: It’s a community darkroom that we currently rent out by the hour. For color and black and white film development. It’s available to anyone through hourly and monthly memberships.

We plan to move to the Loom from 385 Troutman and I’d like to expand our offerings to teach classes, hosting alternative processing, and participate more in art scene.

Sean: What about Arts in Bushwick?

Lucia: I'm helping to organize weekly meetings, open to the public for organizational input. There's one tonight (6/27/12) at Brooklyn Fireproof.

We cut the interview short as she had to go tend to some business at the Darkroom. Suffice it to say this person is doing a lot in the community.  Before leaving she offered a thought regarding her business and volunteer work:

"It’s already become a full-time job on top of the volunteer organizations I’m working with. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I’m loving it."

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