Exploring The Artsy Side of Bushwick

By Jessica Festa,

Looking to get creative? The up-and-coming Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick has just what you’re looking for, with a number of experimental and inspiring experiences.

The Living Gallery Bushwick

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Life drawing at the Living Gallery. Photo courtesy of The Living Gallery.

The Living Gallery Bushwick is known for its experimental arts scene and the area has a wide array of nightlife options, so why not mix the two? The Living Gallery hosts regular classes and events, with one highlight being the $10 drink-and-draw class on Wednesdays, with art supplies, models and beer included. They also host events like open mic nights, one act shows, exhibitions and rap battles, but just getting the chance to mingle with the creative crowd is worth the visit in itself.

The Bushwick Collective

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Photo courtesy of the Bushwick Collective CC BY.

While you’ll find an array of indoor art galleries in Bushwick — mainly near the Morgan L and Jefferson L stops — an al fresco experience can be had walking down Troutman between Wycoff and St. Nicholas. Hosted by the Bushwick Collective, artists come from around the world to create a colorful hub in the neighborhood, with works ranging from hot pink monsters to enormous animals to thought-provoking pieces about life and society.

The Sampler

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Grab a beer at the Sampler. Photo by Quinn Dombrowski CC BY

Beer lovers, rejoice!  The Sampler serves up 20 beers on tap — mainly local — and more than 200 craft bottles and cans. In the cozy brick space, artisan spirit tastings are also on offer, as are fun events like trivia, Nintendo nights, structured tastings, music and more. For the creatives, admire the photography, paintings and colorful works that litter the walls, all done by Brooklyn artists.

 Bizarre Bar

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Visit Bizarre Bar for an out of body experience. Photo courtesy of Bizarre Bar.

Bizarre Bar is an eclectic setting with mismatched furniture and lamps, tattered sofas, antique chandeliers and eerie statues. While it’s not for the faint of heart, it is for lovers of live art. Not only are the classic cocktails strong — you can also tell bartenders what you like to have something bespoke made — the performances are unlike anything you’ve seen, from circus-style freak shows to twisted comedy lineups to burlesque parodies and beyond. Make sure to check out some of local celebrity and imaginative bearded performer Matthew Silver’s avant-garde performances at the bar, like Circus of Dreams and Beard and Mustache.

The Bushwick Starr

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Feel like part of the community at the Bushwick Starr theater. Photo courtesy of the Bushwick Starr.

One thing you can expect at the Bushwick Starr is the unexpected, with inventive theater, dance and puppetry. The 60-seat, not-for-profit theater, with its slightly dilapidated yet elegant feel, is extremely community oriented. It supports emerging performers and puts on shows that dive into lesser-explored topics. From September through May once per month they host a free reading series of never-before-seen scripts. Their rooftop also offers stellar views of the Manhattan skyline.

Fuchs Projects

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Fuchs Street Art. Photo by author.

Fuchs Projects — This contemporary art gallery near the Morgan L stop showcases the work — especially photography — of lesser-known but talented artists pushing traditional art boundaries. After perusing the inspiring collection and its rotating exhibits, check out the imaginative street art in the surrounding streets, or order a creative brick oven pizza at the famous Roberta’s, a work of art in itself. Keep in mind, Fuchs Projects is located within 56 Bogart, which is full of artists lofts and studios to visit, like Chasm Gallery , Fresh Window  and Life on Mars Gallery, to name a few.

The Silent Barn

The Silent Barn

Photo courtesy of the Silent Barn Facebook Page.

It’s not as creepy as it sounds. The Silent Barn is a “multi-functional all-ages art incubation space,” holding an array of creative opportunities under one roof. From 4 p.m., order food, drink coffees at the bar and get some energy from the nightly live music and performance shows. It’s also an artist residence and studio center, so you’ll also find rotating exhibitions and murals. Dance parties, an onsite barber, a large yard and offbeat events are also part of the fun. Within the Silent Barn, one can also visit the Big Lawn Country Club artist-run gallery and the Center for Strategic Art and Agriculture, fusing art and agriculture to transform spaces.

Fine & Raw Chocolate Factory

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Photo courtesy of Fine & Raw Chocolate.

For those seeking culinary creativity, the Fine & Raw Chocolate Factory crafts truffles and bars hand-made without refined sugar, dairy or additives. Choose between raw chocolate cooked below 140 degrees Fahrenheit and half-raw chocolates, allowing you to better taste the terroir of the cacao. Free samples line the counter, while the display case shows off flavors like chipotle, sea salt, white candy and lucuma, all gowned in recycled packaging. An open chocolate factory allows visitors to see exactly how these creative treats are made, while mismatched furniture indoors – and sometimes on the sidewalk – give you a place to savor your sweets that are paired with real hot chocolate.

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