Grad Student How-To: Explore Brooklyn Art in a Day
I love art. I love making it, being around it, being part of it, and thinking about it. To me, nothing quite compares to making something special out of nothing. Mixing together oozing tones to create a new one, finding two tunes that melt perfectly into each other, sprinkling glitter dust over a blank canvas, running my fingers through slippery and silky fabrics. These things really excite me. What makes my heart rate race even faster is when people come together to create art. Collaboratively and collectively sharing, unravelling, creating.
What better place in the world to be amongst such amazing art and artists than New York City, a hub for all things diverse and innovative.
One of the perks of being a student at NYU is discounted and free tickets to a lot of different art institutions throughout the city. Here are a couple of ways you can take a break from the intense studying sessions and get lost in a whole new world!
Start your morning at Playground Coffee Shop in the heart of BedStuy. Playground is my favorite coffee spot in Brooklyn. I'm always welcomed with a friendly face, great coffee, and even better conversation. Grab a pastry and settle into one of the comfy couches or browse the Playground Annex, a space filled to the brim with magazines, books, posters, plants, clothing, and other fun stuff!
Playground's mission is to make art accessible to communities that need it the most. What better way to start your day than supporting such an important organization?!
After you get your coffee fix, walk over to the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art at 80 Hanson Place. The space is small and cozy, and hosts rotating exhibitions by African artists of the diaspora located in Brooklyn and around the world. They also have a select range of buyable art including unqiue jewelry, bags, and postcards.
For lunch, jump on the 2 or 3 train to Prospect Park to paint and picnic! There are a bunch of discounted art supply stores scattered throughout Brooklyn. Raid the sale section, grab a picnic blanket and some snacks at Greenmarket and get to painting! I suggest getting off at Grand Army Plaza and walking past the beautiful Brooklyn Public Library on your way. Prospect Park boasts big beautiful open fields of green, a zoo, and a roller/ice skating rink. Pitch your picnic in the middle of the park and paint what you see!
Next, stroll over to the Brooklyn Museum and check out their latest collection. As an NYU student you can get in for free--use this to your advantage! The Museum houses the Arts of Americas collection, showcasing a range of Native American art stretching from 3000 BC to present.
Here is a good time to reflect upon your space and place in New York, how you ended up in this insanely fascinating city, the histories of those that came before you on the land you stand, and how their histories are being represented today in an increasingly developing world.
End your night on a lighter note and head to The Lot Radio in Williamsburg. The Lot is an independent online radio station that streams 24/7 from an empty shipping container. Expect to see some live sets from some of NYC's and America's finest, such as Mike Simonetti and Little Boots. Have a beer in the beer garden or head inside to the kiosk for a little snack.
If you are still in the mood to boogie, head to Elsewhere's rooftop and dance the night away illuminated by the city!
While you couldn't possibly see all of Brooklyn's art in a day, these places are a good start to exploring all of the amazing conventional and non-traditional art spaces the borough has to offer.