All are invited to Owl Juice Pub this Sunday from 5-7 p.m. for The Exchange: an open forum conversation on gentrification. Moderated by Bushwick based artist Liam Alexander, the format is “a lot like a town hall meeting,” organizer and artist Allie Wilkinson tells Bushwick Daily. “Our goal was to create a safe space where everyone’s voice could be heard,” she adds.
The unique element about The Exchange is that its purpose isn’t to highlight any one particular group of people but rather to be a shared platform for those who have different perspectives, different backgrounds, and different goals: a place where everybody feels comfortable exchanging ideas and stories with the goal of provoking a tighter bond between everybody involved.
The Exchange’s first discussion was held in Clinton Hill at the Corridor Gallery and attracted “an incredible range of people – people who had been pushed out of their communities, people who were moving into the communities, activists, artists, and even real estate developers,” tells Wilkinson.
Discussion is kicked off with a broad question from Alexander assured to garner a wide range of responses – such as “what is your definition of gentrification?” After the spark has been lit, conversation is more or less controlled by the people, though Alexander is there to guide and jump in as needed.
Social movement influenced arts organization IThouArt was created in 2015, also by Alexander, and this past summer’s fruition of The Exchange was a way to stir up conversations the artists over at IThouArt had been underlining within their work.
Photographers, sculptors, painters, installation artists, and street artists from IThouArt will be present at Owl Juice Pub, using discussion from Sunday night’s forum as inspiration for their show at Rush Gallery in December: “Just as we wanted a range of experiences at The Exchange, we wanted a range of artistic expression for the show,” says Wilkinson.
“Using art, experiential community events and artist/activist talks, our art activations encourage new audiences to participate in transformative conversations around some of today’s most pressing social issues: racism, the privatization of prisons, immigration and deportation, and in this case, gentrification,” says Wilkinson.
“So often today, people are unwilling to listen to those who don’t agree with them – we see it on social media, we see it in this election,” says Wilkinson.
Remember: the benevolent proprietors of Owl Juice Pub have offered their space for The Exchange, so consider purchasing something to eat or drink from them – head there come Sunday evening for what’s bound to be a rich discussion on gentrification, Bushwick!
Particpating Artists: Liam Alexander, Kimberly Becoat, Madora Frey, Jerome China, Duhirwe, Kate Fauvell, Gilf!, Kris Graves, Nae Howard, Jimm Lasser, Jaime Permuth, Vaughn Spann, Andre Wagner, and Allie Wilkinson
Featured image taken by Katarina Hybenova of Owl Juice Pub owners Leticia Castillo and Carmen Valerio.
Owl Juice Pub
Friendly Bushwick cafe serving juice, smoothies, coffee drinks, and food.
48 Wyckoff Avenue, Bushwick (very near the Jefferson L train stop)
Mon-Fri: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm and on weekends from 8:00 am – 7:00 pm.