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Artists coalition puts out the welcome mat for you

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The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition (BWAC) hosts its ever-popular Red Hook/Carroll Gardens Open Studio Tour, June 7-8. This self-guided tour is an annual BWAC event which offers the public the unique opportunity to meet artists on an intimate level and view their original works firsthand.

More than 30 studios in the Red Hook/Carroll Gardens area will be open to the public this year, featuring the work of more than 75 Brooklyn artists and collectives.

“The Red Hook/Carroll Gardens tour is a must-see New York City arts destination,” says Celia Kutcher, artist and BWAC open studio coordinator, “the self-guided tour lets people see the creative process live and ask questions.”

Ed Rosko, whose sharp, punchy graphics can be seen at his Lucky Gallery, 176 Richards Street in Red Hook adds, “In my experience, it’s one of the best ways to expose people to art and for us artists to be exposed to our viewers. There’s always a crop of new artists and galleries bringing fresh ideas to the public.”

One newcomer worth noting is Work, a small artist-run gallery founded by artists Walker Waugh and Emily Driscoll in May 2007, and housed in a beguiling red tin shack at the corner of Union Street and Van Brunt.

Here, one will find Jonathan Bridges’ darkly animistic ceramic and steel sculpture and Mary Johnson’s nostalgic cast bronze Cupie dolls and accompanying found object shrines.

“Work,” explains Waugh, “is a place that provides a democratic setting for the exhibition, performance and critical reflection of art. And we’re thrilled to introduce our featured artists — it’s a New York City first for both — during Open Studio weekend.”

Also participating in the Red Hook/Carroll Gardens Open Studio event for the first time, is Brooklyn Collective, at 198 Columbia in Carroll Gardens, a select group of serious and determined artists brought together by fashion and jewelry designers Tessa Phillips and Rachel Goldberg.

Says Goldberg, “We see ourselves as part of an emerging, grassroots movement…an alternative to the commercial ventures that often dilute the integrity and quality of our work.” Using their blurred-line approach, a wide range of offerings, from custom guitar straps, to hand-wrought jewelry and eye-popping oils and acrylics, can be found.

Art lovers will also find “an alternative to the alternativ­es,” says Kutcher, in visits to studios run by enterprising artist / entrepreneurs. These include In Square Circle (ISC) Design Concepts Studio at 631 Hicks Street owned by Brooklyn native Scott Tucker, offering sculpture, paintings, furniture and corporate event design, and the dazzling Launa Beuhler Studio at 219 Columbia Street, where the discerning adventurer will find unique installations, constructions and animated works which have appeared in “Art Internatio­nal,” “Vanity Fair,” “The New York Times,” and other publications.

A host of related happenings include the 16th annual BWAC Pier Show “Spring Ahead,” featuring more than 300 artists, craft fairs at the Red Hook Pier, and live music shows both day and evening.

“One special treat,” notes artist Ellie Winberg, whose Extreme Paper studio is at 160 Union Street, “will be the opportunity to view the vegetable-on-vellum illustrations of Pat Conte, blues musician of the legendary Otis Brothers’ Band,” at Jalopy Theatre, the rural outpost deep in the urban heart of Red Hook, at 315 Columbia Street.

The Red Hook/Carroll Gardens Open Studio Weekend (www.bwac.org) and the Atlantic Avenue Art Walk (www.atlanticavenueartwalk.com) have once again been coordinated to take place simultaneously, creating an impressive art destination that extends from salty-aired Red Hook and Carroll Gardens to the diverse shopping district of Atlantic Avenue.

The events runs 12-6 p.m. Maps for all artist locations can be obtained at the BWAC Pier Show, 499 Van Brunt in Red Hook; Extreme Paper Studio at 160 Union Street in Carroll Gardens or by calling 718-832-0496. Maps can also be downloaded from the web at www.bwac.org. The open studio tour is free to the public.

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