Tag Archive for: artist

No More Water brings together emerging artists Tahir Carl Karmali and Justin Sterling to respond to the Old Stone House’s unique space. Both artists use reclaimed and abstracted vernacular materials––including used cell phone batteries and broken windows––to symbolize local and global policies that contribute to inequality and displacement. The title No More Water also implies our current climate emergency (characterized by increased floods, wildfires, and water contamination) and an urgent call for action.

The artists chose No More Water to reference James Baldwin’s 1963 publication The Fire Next Time, which begins and ends with the line, “God gave Noah the rainbow sign, no more water, the fire next time!”, quoting the spiritual Mary Don’t you Weep and alluding to the Old Testament story of God flooding a corrupt earth. The Fire Next Time is considered a galvanizing text for the American Civil Rights movement in its examination of racial injustice and its call for all people of “consciousness” to “change the history of the world.” Situated at OSH in a reconstructed colonial farmhouse and Revolutionary War battleground, Karmali and Sterling’s work helps confront uncomfortable truths of the past and present while also suggesting possibilities for transformation.

Both artists explore the potential and limitations of art’s role in addressing injustice. Karmali describes his installations as “deceptively beautiful or attractive, as an art form, allowing the viewer to savor them as primary material before a layer of trauma (of migration, of displacement, of labor) slowly reveals itself.” He presents new and site-specific work from his ongoing STRATA series, which consists of layered raffia dyed with cobalt extracted from cell phone batteries, referencing traditional Congolese kuba cloth and the exploitation of cobalt miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sterling’s sculptures made of broken windows and other urban detritus, by contrast, retain more of their original, sometimes jarring forms, alluding to the controversial policing policy of the same name as well as other forces that contribute to displacement, gentrification, and mass incarceration. Yet they offer myriad “attempts to fix, recycle, or archive” as an alternative to discarding. Both artists metaphorically push back against the destruction of both local communities and our larger environment, while simultaneously placing the viewer in close physical proximity with the impact of this destruction, challenging a “culture of indifference.”

At the August 15 opening at 7pm, Justin Sterling’s opening performance will combine trumpet and movement improvisation to respond to the work on view, also alluding to his roots in New Orleans, an area with a history of natural disasters and rebuilding.

Funding for No More Water is made possible, in part, by the Puffin Foundation and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Join artist Tahir Carl Karmali for a card making workshop using recycled paper and felt.  Paper making moulds and deckles will be provided, but you can also bring your own. This is a lovely opportunity for handcrafted holiday gift making, combined with some holiday cheer. Come with a friend!  Festive drinks and snacks will be provided.

$25 tickets available on line at Brown Paper Tickets.   Reserve soon – space is limited.

Mixed-media artist Tahir Carl Karmali was born and raised in Kenya before moving to Brooklyn.  He is an investigator of materials and vernacular design, invested in transforming materials into varying formats (sculptural installations, prints, textile works) that are deceptively beautiful.  Most recently Tahir has exhibited at the Plan B art fair, The Shed, and the Old Stone House & Washington Park.  His most recent solo show was at LKB Gallery in Hamburg, Germany, and his work is currently on exhibit at Strongroom in Newburgh, New York, and IPCNY, New York.

This is an open call for submissions for artwork to be considered for our Brooklyn Utopias: 2020 exhibition curated by Katherine Gressel.

Submission Deadline: March 9, 2020

Exhibition Dates: August 20 – October 18, 2020


Utopia: An ideal place or state, usually imaginary; any visionary system of political, social, environmental, or moral perfection

  • What would characterize a Brooklyn Utopia?
  • How has Brooklyn changed in the past decade (for the better or worse)?
  • What is the role of artists in creating a more ideal Brooklyn?

Brooklyn Utopias: 2020 will address Brooklyn’s past, present and future by inviting artists to consider differing visions of an ideal Brooklyn, or imagine their own. It corresponds with the 10-year anniversary of the original Brooklyn Utopias? exhibitions series developed by curator Katherine Gressel and presented at both OSH and Brooklyn Historical Society in 2009-2010 (see more info below). At a time of reflection on the past decade, OSH invites artists to explore how Brooklyn has continued to change over the past 10 years, and if/how it can serve as a model for urban and American living on a national scale, especially in the months leading up to the 2020 election. Brooklyn Utopias also addresses the possibilities (or limitations) of art in creating a better world. We encourage past Brooklyn Utopias artists to revisit their 2009 projects or propose new ones, and welcome submissions from artists based in or exploring issues in our  surrounding Gowanus/Park Slope/Sunset Park area, as well as a range of diverse Brooklyn neighborhoods. In addition to an August opening reception, we plan to host a closing event during the annual Gowanus Open Studios, October 15, 16 or 17, focused on the future of the arts in this neighborhood.

As with all our exhibitions, we also encourage projects that engage with our unique history and space. OSH is a reconstructed Dutch colonial farmhouse located in Park Slope’s Washington Park/J.J. Byrne Playground. The playground and house restoration were first developed by Robert Moses in the 1930s, but the land surrounding the house made history long before then as the site of the 1776 Revolutionary War Battle of Brooklyn, and as a 19th Century Brooklyn Dodgers practice field. Today, OSH hosts history and environmental education programs as well as cultural and family events. This exhibition will be featured in our annual Battle Week events calendar celebrating the Battle of Brooklyn’s anniversary. 


From colonial religious settlements to western frontiers to urban renewal efforts to planned suburban enclaves, the United States has historically been obsessed with utopian communities. Brooklyn is no exception to this, with its history as a home for Dutch colonial and subsequent racially and culturally diverse settlers, 19th Century social reformers like Alfred P. White, influential artists and writers from Walt Whitman to Spike Lee; and distinctive neighborhoods from Coney Island to Brooklyn Heights.

The original Brooklyn Utopias? series was inspired by Brooklyn’s resurging popularity in the first decade of the 21st Century, and often competing and controversial attempts to re-plan and rebuild the borough––from luxury high rises to new sports and entertainment complexes to affordable housing, bike shares, and “green” architecture initiatives. 

The 2010s saw many of these nascent developments come to fruition as Brooklyn “became a globally recognized brand” but also increasingly unaffordable and segregated, according to Curbed, with small businesses and artist studios shuttering, and formerly working class and immigrant neighborhoods like Williamsburg “transformed from quirky hipster locales into havens accessible only to the very wealthy.” New parks, ferries and commercial/residential developments have reinvented and increased access to Brooklyn’s waterfront, while reckoning with its disappearing industrial landmarks and a growing climate threat made tangible by 2012’s Hurricane Sandy. 

Brooklyn has also continued to nurture grassroots organizations like community arts centers, urban farms and advocacy groups. The blog Brooklyn Based argues that during the later 2010s, Brooklyn went from “hipster to woke” especially after the 2016 presidential election and heightened awareness of racism, anti-seminism, and hate crimes. Brooklyn emerged as an incubator for political resistance groups like GetOrganizedBK and Indivisible Nation who have also worked towards passing progressive local policies.  

Brooklyn Utopias: 2020 asks, how effective are all these efforts to continue to develop Brooklyn (and, arguably, influence the rest of the world)? Who benefits and who is left behind?  What additional innovations are possible? And how should artists continue to both responsibly shape the growth of the borough and envision a more hopeful future in the face of recent economic, social and environmental crises?

See the blog https://brooklynutopias.wordpress.com/ for information about subsequent Brooklyn Utopias shows presented at OSH from 2012-2015, addressing the sub-topics of urban farming, parks/public space, transportation, and income inequality. OSH also hosted a Being Well: In Search of Utopia? exhibition on health & wellness in 2017. All these potential themes could be revisited in our 2020 show. 

Brooklyn Utopias: 2020 is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Image credit: Rebecca Hackemann.


Projects in all media are welcome (though see “exhibit specifications” section below for specific requirements). As in the past, we are also interested in commissioning public art for the surrounding Washington Park, and artwork created with the participation of local community groups or schools–please contact OSH in advance if you’d like us to help try to match you with a community partner organization.  We are also open to temporary indoor or outdoor event proposals that engage with this theme, from both artists and community organizations. Artists are especially encouraged to propose community workshops that complement artwork on view in the gallery (as opposed to stand-alone events). Due to OSH’s busy event calendar, public programs will be arranged at mutually convenient times, based on OSH’s availability. 


Please email the following to Katherine Gressel, curator at  katherinegressel@gmail.com, by 11:59 PST on March 1, 2020 with the email subject line with “Brooklyn Utopias Submission” 

  • Brief description (approx. 1 paragraph or 500 words) of proposed project–please address how it engages the exhibition theme!  

** If you are a returning artist proposing an update to a previous Brooklyn Utopias project, please address how it will be modified to reflect more recent events. 

  • Up to 10 images/videos of the proposed project and/or related work, or send links to images/videos online. Sketches of proposed new work are ok. Please attach a work sample script explaining the content of the work samples, or link to captions online. NOTE: if you are proposing a public program/performance, please share info on any related programs/events you have previously produced. 
  • Funding request (if any): OSH is dedicated to offering at minimum a $150 honorarium for all participating artists. Additional funds may be available, especially to cover materials/transport costs for new and site specific work. OSH can also sometimes assist artists in applying for their own grants, or with crowdfunding.
  • Attach or link to artist resume or bio

** Artists/organizations are encouraged to contact the curator in advance to discuss ideas or to arrange a studio visit, and to visit the OSH exhibition space (see below) **


Artists are highly encouraged to view the OSH floor plan, and visit http://theoldstonehouse.org/exhibitions/ and http://brooklynutopias.wordpress.com to see past exhibition images. You are welcome to contact Kim Maier, OSH Executive Director, directly at kmaier@theoldstonehouse.org and Katherine Gressel, curator at katherinegressel@gmail.com to make an appointment to visit the house or discuss specific installation needs.

  • Works will primarily be on display in OSH’s 2nd Floor Great Room gallery, though there may be potential for site-specific work in the park outside, gardens, stairwell, or lobby.  
  • The Great Room is a multi-purpose space that will also be used for a variety of public and private events during the show’s run—therefore, work must be securely hung on walls–either from masonry screws, heavy duty tape (depending on weight) or a picture rail–or otherwise fastened to a permanent surface in the room. There is little space for 3-dimensional work indoors, though small three- dimensional installations are sometimes possible, i.e. on window sills, small shelves,  the stairway landing, small pedestals, or other furniture. The concrete walls do not accommodate small nails or pins. 
  • We have two small and one large monitors available for video work, and a wi-fi enabled ipad for web-based displays. With some exceptions, artists are responsible for obtaining their own AV equipment. Note: we can only show a minimal amount of video work in each exhibition, given the multi-purpose nature of our space. Projection-based video is normally not feasible in our gallery, but please contact the curator if you’d like to inquire about possible exceptions to this.
  • Outdoor work will be exhibited within 100 feet of the Old Stone House, and must be in keeping with Parks Department specifications for public art. Such projects should be discussed in advance with OSH Executive Director Kim Maier. Please note outdoor projects are vulnerable to both harsh weather conditions, and theft or vandalism as the park cannot provide 24-hour security. 
  • Note: OSH is unable to insure the artwork 
  • ** We are also exploring additional Brooklyn venues as potential satellite sites for site-specific art; please contact us if you are a representative of a venue in a different neighborhood interested in hosting Brooklyn Utopias art. 


Presence is an exhibition curated by Katherine Gressel which explores the evolution of artist Alicia Grullón’s socially-engaged work over 15+ years.

The exhibition opens with a public reception on February 6, followed by open gallery hours on Fridays from 3 pm –  6 pm, or by appointment. 

Grullón describes her performances, both live or for photography or video, as “critiques of the politics of presence – an argument for the inclusion of disenfranchised communities in political and social spheres.” By inserting her own body in spaces “that have historically not been meant for [her] or designed so [she has] little control over how [she is] represented in them,” Grullón aims to disrupt mainstream historical and cultural narratives.  This includes collecting and performing the stories of individuals whose voices might otherwise be absent. Her interventions have included public spaces, cultural and academic institutions, the dominant history of the United States, government policy, environmentalism, feminism, the United Nations, and the mass media.  

In the tradition of deconstructionist philosophy, Grullón’s work challenges traditional binaries between past and present, and presence and its typical opposite, “absence.” In her photographs, “what is alluded to within the frame is largely informed by what is not in the frame.”  In addition to evoking missing narratives from past, current, and future events, the work selected for this exhibition focuses on Grullón’s use of costumes, props and other methods of obscuring her own identity (leading to the absence of a uniform artist figure throughout the work), sometimes to augment the voices of others. In her essay “The Missing Body: Performance in the Absence of the Artist” Cindy Baker argues that through this type of physical obfuscation, “risk, transgression, and a false illusion of distance are taken on by both artist and audience member, expanding a capacity for intimacy between artist/art and audience that few artworks can.” Through inhabiting a world of her own creation, Grullon also subverts a traditional European, male gaze. 

In keeping with OSH’s mission to make local history relevant, Presence is comprised mainly of works rooted in Grullón’s native New York City and that address such topics as gentrification, immigration and community preservation. Several works on view were  inspired by OSH itself and its Dutch Colonial and Revolutionary War past. 

Presence is the first in a series of four 2020 OSH exhibitions exploring how contemporary artists encourage participation and civic engagement.  

Closing Reception/Public Programs
On March 26 from 7-9 p.m., we invite the public to view Storytelling, a performance for video in which Grullon re-enacts stories as they were told to her by seniors at the Jackie Robinson Senior Center in Harlem. A Q&A session with the artist and curator to follow. Additional public programs may be added at a later date- check the OSH website or newsletter for more information.  

Presence is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs


Join the artist Alicia Grullón and curator Katherine Gressel for the opening reception of Grullón’s solo exhibition Presence at OSH. The public reception will be held from 7 pm – 9 pm, enjoy light refreshments and a first look at our newest show!

Alicia Grullón is a performance artist and photographer with a career spanning more than fifteen years. She describes her self-portraits and performances as “critiques of the politics of presence – an argument for the inclusion of disenfranchised communities in political and social spheres.” By inserting her own body in spaces that have historically not been meant for her or designed so she has little control over how she is represented in them, Grullón aims to disrupt mainstream historical and cultural narratives. The work selected for this exhibition focuses on her use of costumes, props and other methods of obscuring her own identity, sometimes to tell the stories of others.
In keeping with OSH’s mission to make local history relevant, Presence is comprised mainly of works rooted in Grullón’s native New York City and addresses topics including gentrification, immigration and community preservation. Several works on view were inspired by OSH itself and its Dutch Colonial and Revolutionary War past.
After this reception, the exhibition will be on view to the public every Friday from 3 pm – 6 pm and by appointment until April 6, with a closing event on March 26.
Presence is the first in a series of four 2020 OSH exhibitions exploring how contemporary artists encourage participation and civic engagement. Keep an eye out for more information coming soon!

The Old Stone House is partnering with the Handmade in Brooklyn Collective to bring a unique artisan fair Pop Up to Washington Park!

We are hoping to hold our event on Saturday, May 2, 2020 from Noon – 5 pm in Park Slope’s town square to introduce your business to our lovely neighbors. Because of the current coronavirus situation, we will reassess whether we can move ahead with the event on April 17. If we must cancel as per NYC directives, we will issue refunds to paid registrants.

We’re looking forward to a busy spring day in the park, with live music to set the mood. We’ll also be hosting our annual OSH & WP Plant Sale which supports our beautiful gardens.

This celebration of the handmade is a perfect time to shop for something special for Mother’s Day; and with graduation right around the corner, everyone will be on the hunt for amazing artisanal items just like yours!

Best wishes navigating the coming weeks – take care of yourselves!

Please read the following information carefully:

– Application Deadline is March 23, 2020.
– This is an outdoor event with NO electricity, plan accordingly.
– Vendors must provide business cards and a professional table display.
– On site street parking is available.
– Non-refundable $20 Application Fee, if your business is selected this fee is deducted from your Booth Fee.
– Booth Fee is $80, includes a 10′ x 10′ area with 6′ table and 2 chairs (tables can be shared between 2 Vendors).

Disclaimer and Guidelines:

– Please know we are not responsible for the success of sales, weather, or number of attendees.
– Vendors must have their booths set up and ready for business by 12 PM on May 2, 2020.
– No refunds will be issued after April 24, 2020.
– OSH & HMB assigns booth spaces to vendors. Vendors may not change booth location or designated boundaries of any booth space. Vendors must place all supports within the boundaries of their assigned booth spaces.
– Vendors may not drill, dig holes, paint, or make any permanent alterations to the site.
– Vendors are responsible for the clean up and disposal of all products, displays, trash, and recycling.
– Vendors must take their entire booths — including carpets, display racks, storage containers, and decorations — home with them. All booths must be taken down by 6 pm.
– By filling out this application, your spot at the OSH & HMB Pop Up is NOT guaranteed until you receive an invitation via email and have paid your booth fee.
– OSH & HMB reserve the right to determine whether any product or service may be offered at this event. Only products and services that are listed on this application and approved may be included in your booth. Vendors may be required to remove products from their booth that are not on this application.

Complete Your Vendor Application Here:

Rejoin your community of artists with a shared online experience.
Draw from a clothed model in a classic life drawing session tonight from 7 pm – 10 pm. Supported by Kim Maier of the Old Stone House, hosted by Dexter Miranda, Alba Acevedo, Raquel Klein, and Ellen Lutter, lighting design by Tom Anderson; organized by your friends at the Old Stone House.

Grab your medium of choice and prop up your screen. You’re home but not alone!

ZOOM MEETING ID: 876 614 299

300 spots available! First come, first served.

Looking for a unique Mother’s Day gift? Need a surprise for a Grad? Celebrating a birthday?

Check out the amazing creations from these local artisans scheduled to participate in our May Day Pop Up event co-hosted with the Handmade in Brooklyn Collective. Support Woman owned businesses!

Skincare & Artisinal Soaps:
Console Yourself Soap
Awomi Naturals
Vera Vera Shop

Clothing & Fiber Arts:
Woven by Carol
Belio Crochet
Neena Zeve Designs

Ceramics & Home Decor:
Pastiched by Kristen
Alise Loebelsohn Designs

Folkloric Jewelry
Gabriela Jewelry

Join artists and arts administrators Suzy Kopf and Mary Negro as they present their article, “Put Your Anxious Energy to Work for You: 9 Art Admin Tasks You Can Do Right Now.” In these uncertain times, sometimes it helps to have a list to follow, and in this focused Zoom meeting geared for artists, Kopf and Negro will go over their ideas for how you can use this time to get organized and tackle those tasks you know you should do but never make time for. Come prepared with your questions for our presenters!

This event is presented as part of our latest contemporary art programming, “Regeneration in Place”.

Suzy Kopf (b. Menlo Park, CA) is an artist, educator, critic and arts administrator who lives and works in Baltimore, MD. Suzy received her MFA in Studio Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), her BA in Art History and her BFA in Fine Arts from the New School University. She is the Director of Sales and Marketing for BmoreArt, Baltimore’s arts and culture magazine, as well as an adjunct professor of painting, drawing and museum studies at MICA and Johns Hopkins University. In her own career as an artist, Suzy has participated in numerous residencies including VCCA and Kala and presented at several national conferences. In early 2020 she had two solo in Washington, D.C. and the Plains, VA. She is a founding member of the Gowanus Swim Society art collective.

Mary Negro (b. New Haven, CT) is an artist and arts administrator who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Mary received her MA in Art Market Studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology: State University of New York, and received her BA in Art History and Visual Arts from Fordham University. She is the former Managing Director of Trestle Gallery, Brooklyn. Mary is also a former board member of Trestle Gallery and Arts Gowanus, has published art reviews at artcritical.com magazine, and is a founding member of the Gowanus Swim Society art collective.

Join in on Zoom!
Meeting ID: 862 4749 2745
Meeting Link here.

Join our friend and former OSH curator Katie Fuller for a virtual tour of the latest installment in the Race and Revolution series, Home/Land; hosted by the Lewis Latimer House Museum, one of our Historic House Trust sister sites.

Home/Land is an exhibition of contemporary art that looks at the influence of the Fugitive Slave Act on Lewis Latimer’s family and the tactics used to detain, deport, and re-enslave with current practices used by Immigration Customs Enforcement to control the influx of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.

This is a free event, but please RSVP here.