Ridgewood artists declare independence from Bushwick at new open studios event

Max Parrott/QNS

A group of about Ridgewood artists tired of being isolated in the lesser-traveled northeast corner of the Bushwick Open Studio Tours for over the past decade, have finally broken off the neighborhood that has come to be known as the center of the city’s art scene in recent years. 

About 70 neighborhood artists banded together over the summer to create their own local art event.

The open studios event, described by the group as an “old-fashioned, DIY” affair, will consist of 15 exhibitions that will go on display from Oct. 4 to 6. It’s designed to encourage people to explore a map of home studios, group shows and gallery exhibits scattered from around the Myrtle-Wyckoff L-stop to the Fresh Pond Road M-train stop. 

Nao Matsumoto, an artist specializing in sculpture and 3-D Fabrication who runs the Lorimoto Gallery, took the reigns in organizing the show. For him, it was a chance to bring together a community of artists who might not otherwise have an opportunity to meet each other.

“I’m always dying to support local artists, but it’s hard to meet them. For me this type of event is good because I’m really digging into the front lines,” Matsumoto said.

Matsumoto said the event also provided the opportunity to explore the neighborhood’s abundance of home studios, a trait that he said distinguishes Ridgewood from other artist communities in New York. But while this level of intimacy brings a more raw, exposed view of an artist’s process, it has also created logistical hurdles for the organizers.

“So open studios means that you’re opening up your living quarters, and some people don’t want to do that. Totally understandable,” Matsumoto said.

As a solution, the artists organized four group shows throughout the map. This also allowed artists from surrounding areas like Maspeth and Glendale to join. In addition to those shows, four studios will also be showcasing collective exhibits

For the inaugural year, Matsumoto said he was shooting for a very straightforward, old-fashioned event. He hopes that a minimal online presence will help make the experience more special.

“When I came to New York in ‘97 and went to open studios, there wasn’t any internet. There were no apps,” Matsumoto said. “You kinda figured it out. I kinda like that. It was a mystery. Going to an open studios event back in the day was way more exciting because you didn’t know what to expect.”

That being said, the map of the exhibits and artist bios are online for participants to explore at https://ridgewoodopenstudi.wixsite.com/ridgewoodopenstudios.