Two Trees Management announced this week that five galleries in DUMBO will open new, expanded ground-floor spaces in the upcoming months — including A.I.R. Gallery, which opened on May 5, and Minus Space, which opens Saturday, May 30.
“All of the galleries have known for eight months or so that they’ll be moving into these spaces, so it has been a lot of excitement and anticipation,” said Lisa Kim, Two Trees’ cultural affairs director. “It's great to see shows up, walls lit, art on the walls.
“It's really a total physical and spatial manifestation of what we do,” Kim continued. “We're excited to allow these businesses the space and time and opportunity to really flourish here.”
In addition to A.I.R. and Minus Space, the galleries opening include Klompching Gallery, Masters Projects and United Photo Industries. All of the galleries were previously located at 111 Front St. in second-floor spaces.
They’ll join Smack Mellon, Rabbithole Studio, Sculptor's Guild, Museum Quality NYC, This Friday or Next Friday, GAIA Gallery and many others to contribute to the thriving arts community in DUMBO.
For years, galleries have been closing in SoHo and Tribeca, squeezed out by ever-increasing rents. It looked like DUMBO might follow in that direction after Galapagos Art Space closed in December 2014 and the DUMBO Arts Festival announced in February it would be canceled. However, Two Trees is committed to keeping the arts alive in the neighborhood.
“While we can't save everybody, it is our mission to keep that community alive here,” Kim said. “Through the subsidy program, the gallery tenants and all of the other things we do, we want to make sure they are healthy and growing.”
As part of that mission, Two Trees has transformed 16 Main St., which was one of the country’s first reinforced poured concrete buildings built in 1906, and the former home of Galapagos Art Space. It was a dark building without many windows that featured a bar and an art space on the second floor, but now there are windows all around the building to open it up to the public with ground floor galleries.
“It was a nighttime space,” Kim said, referring to 16 Main St. “It's where you went for burlesque, for comedy and talks, dinner and drinking. It was a bar. Now we've opened the entire building for daytime public access.”
Another major part of this announcement includes A.I.R.’s new home at 155 Plymouth St. That space will not only host the nonprofit women’s gallery, but it will also be the home to many of Two Trees’ philanthropic endeavors, including its Cultural Space Subsidy Program, Studio Residency Program, the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program and its public art programs.
In fact, the Cultural Space Subsidy Program is still accepting applications from artists for the next two weeks, until June 15. For more information, see twotreesny.com/philanthropy/space-program.
“We want to keep this community going,” Kim said. “We're thrilled by the tenants that we've brought into the program and what they do.”
Two Trees also supports public artwork in and around DUMBO, including Danish artist Jeppe Hein's outdoor exhibition in Brooklyn Bridge Park called “Please Touch the Art,” which features neon orange benches and a maze constructed of mirrors.