A place to hang your hat

The Red Hook Community Arts Network has always had a wonderful sense of spontaneity — its ArtPop events literally pop up all over town, taking over empty spaces donated by local landlords until they find tenants, and refreshing them with works of art. The group is now looking, however, for a place to call home, and to make this dream a reality, it is reaching out the community at large.

“When we put up this show, we thought, this is such a cool little space,” said Juliet Harrison, treasurer and co-founder of the network, known as Red Hook CAN.

The location in question is the storefront at 7516 N. Broadway in the heart of the village, where the group’s latest ArtPop gallery is currently open. Establishing a stable home base for operations would allow the group to function more efficiently and plan for even more ambitious events and activities.

Harrison described how the space would be optimal for rented private art studios. “It’s a rabbit warren of rooms,” she said. “It does not in any way service all the needs (of the organization); it’s an interesting space to consider as a home base, then rent out as small studio space to artists. We would rent the smaller spaces in the back to help pay for rent (of the front of the space). That’s doable – it’s not a huge chunk of rent. One problem we find is that we like idea of pop ups, of occupying interesting spaces, and then to see them rented for [the] economic health of [the] community. A huge goal is no empty spaces. But every time we move, we have to reconstitute. We have no ability to plan shows, no address. The last show was only two weeks long because we had to get out. It prevents us from having juried shows or even planning a show with a particular theme.”

The space has potential to spur further creativity, Harrison added. “Due to the size of the space, we wouldn’t be able to show large paintings or sculpture. We can’t have a reading there; [the space holds] not really more than 20 people. It’s limited. But we can use that space and continue to do pop ups for larger works. It would force us and challenge us to go beyond the gallery. You have to give yourself a border in order to figure out how to cross it. We’re still hoping to do some things at the Merritt Bookstore space, and something with outdoor sculpture.”

Red Hook Community Arts Network is not a membership organization, and its events have been free and open to the public. The group is now in need of financial support to make its goal achievable.
The group is asking for a donation of $30 from people willing to help. Donations are not tax deductible since the group is not a non-profit. The Red Hook Area Chamber of Commerce is the parent organization,

Donations can be made on the Chamber of Commerce’s website, or by mailing checks to RHACOC, P.O. Box 254, Red Hook, N.Y. 12571.For more information, e-mail redhookcan@gmail.com.

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