All posts tagged: 475 KTA Association

New Print of “475 Kent” in Brooklyn Benefits Artists Who Built Community

New Print of “475 Kent” in Brooklyn Benefits Artists Who Built Community

475 Kent for Sale! Actually, it already sold to real estate developers a year ago – Roughly 20 years after an active artist community brought this nearly abandoned old pasta factory to life and made it desireable.

Buying one of these prints will defend their ability to stay in their live/work spaces.

475 Print # 1 Edition of 30. Rob Swainston . Alison Dell . Prints Of Darkness.

Today, those same artists and creatives are at the center of New York’s largest symbolic fight to keep artists in their live/work spaces, testing the letter of the Loft Law and the commitment to the people by the Loft Board. So far, nearly 50 families including older folks and children have been expunged from their spaces since the building was sold one year ago.

When you pay $56 million for a factory to turn it into a luxury loft building in Brooklyn, you probably kept some funds for lawyers to clean it out. Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.

There are multiple shades of color that wash over this brand new image by two artists who were married on the roof of this former pasta factory in 2001. Both accomplished professors (art and biology respectively) Rob Swainston and Alison Dell also began their print shop in the building in the mid 2000s, humorously called “Prints of Darkness”.

In one of the many incredible stories associated with the artists community at 475 Kent – three weeks after Swainston and Dell were wedded on the roof tenant and renowned photographer Robert Clark shot images of the 2nd plane hitting the World Trade Center from that same roof, a photo appearing on the cover of Time that week and in National Geographic among other publications.

475 Print # 2 Edition of 26. Rob Swainston . Alison Dell . Prints Of Darkness.

To help raise funds for tenants legal and architectural expenses here Swainston and Dell donate their talent, time, and print supplies for a very special release; a portrait of the building that made this a home and a community for 20 years of entrepreneurial artists, photographers, designers, musicians, filmmakers, curators, gallerists, publishers, writers, editors, teachers, models, programmers, architects, street artists, printers, sculptors, builders, fabricators, chefs, brewers, botanists, performers, and all their lovers, spouses, and kids.

Sales of the print will benefit the 475Kent Tenants Association and all funds raised will assist with legal and architectural expenses incurred as the building and its residents move through the legalization process under the Loft Law. A test case for the new 2010 Loft Law that provides protection for cultural creators like these, the process has been less than favorable according to a recent article by Ben Sutton in Hyperallergic: “If Things Were Going Well, We Wouldn’t Be Here”: Artists Protest NYC’s Loft Board”

Writes Sutton, “Despite a promise from Mayor de Blasio that he would defend them, New York City’s loft tenants feel more vulnerable than ever and are taking their concerns to the board charged with helping them.”

475 Print # 3 Edition of 23. Rob Swainston . Alison Dell . Prints Of Darkness.

You’ll be hearing more on the unique place that this building holds in the story of New York’s Arts community in coming months as residents will be adding to their legal war chest with fundraisers that have already received pledges of support from some of the biggest names in Street Art and photography, painting, food, and the plastic arts. True community builders, the activist spirit of the art scene here for two decades has already fought and won to fight off power plants by energy interests all along the riverside of Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the early 2000s, where thousands of school children would have been breathing polluted air.

They’ve fought for community gardens, funding for parks, protected bike lanes, and sane siting of waste-disposal plants, among other efforts. In January 2008 the entire building was evacuated, shoving 250 people out in two hours by the Fire Department because of dangerous conditions created by the matzoh factory that had been running in the basement for many years apart from the artists involvement. After actively mobilizing support from the City, the press, their politicians, the community board and the larger New York artists community and supporters, they helped the owners construct a new fire-safe sprinklers system among other things and moved back in the building en masse four months later.

Clearly this is a dynamic community of creatives that fights the good fight and you can help bolster their efforts today by bringing 475 Kent into your home.

Click on .

Click HERE to learn more about Prints Of Darkness

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Artists Continue to Fight for Affordable Housing in NYC

Artists Continue to Fight for Affordable Housing in NYC

They’re not coming here to dine at the Olive Garden or take a tour through the Target.

They’re here for “Hello Dolly”, “Hamilton”, and “Cats”. They’re here for Billie Joel at the Garden, “Springstein on Broadway” and the “David Bowie” opening at the Brooklyn Museum. They’re here for the virtual reality exhibition “Celestial Bodies” at the Museum of Sex, Picasso and Marina Abramović at MoMa, and the 34,000 items in the Met’s Costume Institute. They’re here for Jazz at Birdland, punk at Manitobas, the singers at Joe’s Pub and dancing at “The Dirty Circus” party at House of Yes in Bushwick.

Whether its EDM or country music, Ai Wei Wei or Shepard Fairey, they’re reading about the arts from writers in the The New York Times, ArtForum, Hyperallergic, Time Out, The Village Voice, Daily News and right here.

Brooklyn Skyline. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The creative economy of artists, actors, dancers, musicians, photographers, curators, designers, art directors, architects, producers, writers, authors, painters, poets, coaches, trainers, teachers, filmmakers, lighting designers, stage designers, software programmers, prop makers, furniture designers, singers, chefs, hairdressers, makeup artists, fashion designers, and yes, Street Artists all are the contributors to the valuable cultural lifeblood of New York City.

And all of these people need a place to live and work, to create, to practice, to try and fail, and to try and succeed.

They also need to be able to pay the rent. That has been less and less and less possible in the last three decades at least with skyrocketing prices chasing low and medium income people from one neighborhood to the next.

These cultural creators have been moving from abandoned neighborhood to neglected neighborhood – in the process most often making the neighborhood more desireable – and then pushed out by the real estate investors. An effort to stem this unfair, brutal and insulting process, activists and artists created The Loft Law, which saved thousand artists in the 1980s and 1990s and it protected many Live/Work creative spaces and the cultural richness of the City that Never Sleeps. A second wave of Live/Work spaces were given protection via Albany in 2010 in a 2nd Loft Law  that covers creatives who brought neighborhoods around the city like Williamsburg and Bushwick back to life as desireable creative meccas.

Yes, this is one of the stories about gentrification – and yes, protection of affordable space for artists is not more important than affordable apartments for every single New Yorker. There are many programs afoot put in place ( please see: Mayor de Blasio Announces City Secured More Affordable Housing in 2017 Than in Any Prior Year.)

But that’s not why we’re writing today.

We’re writing to support all artists who give to this city and would like to assure that our elected officials, landlords, and the Loft Board remember their responsibility to respect and protect the rights of tenants, their families, their children, their grandchildren, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers.

Many tenants in the last couple of years have questioned whether the protections afforded under the Loft Law are being run over roughshod or ignored altogether, according to many artists you’ll speak with. There are accusations that hard-won rules are being skipped over, artists are being coerced, that clearly defined processes are being foreshortened and rammed through without input.

It’s an old story, a swinging of the pendulum of justice toward the people and away from the people, but one that needs to be righted occasionally. At this moment, with the Mayor so clearly expressing a desire to protect the rights of the New York creative industry for affordable safe loft Live/Work spaces, it seems possible.

Here is the press release for a protest by 475 Kent tenants today at the meeting of the New York City Loft Board.

475 Kent tenants are asking that you ALL come out and support them.
Loft Board Meeting
2:00 PM
January 18, 2018 
New York City Loft Board   
22 Reade Street, 1st floor 
New York, New York

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