Leila and Lilah got an interview response!

December 13, 2010

here is the interview from the owner of Proteus Gowanus (see our earlier post)

How did you find this space? What role does the location and building (old box
factory!) play in your mission?

I am a visual artist and have had a studio in the building for about 15 years. In
2005 the building was offered for sale to the artists in the building. 20 of us got
together and bought the building. I bought the space that Proteus Gowanus is
in. That is one reason we are able to have the gallery. The location and box
factory are very important to our mission. Alot of what we do is based on place,
history, community.  We have the Hall of the Gowanus that explores the
history/ecosystem of the canal. The sensibility of PG lends itself to an old, post-
industrial building. We love our alley way and consider it integral to the space.

What was the process to become a non-profit?

We worked with a clinic at the Brooklyn Law School. They were extremely helpful as it is a complicated
application process. We just got our 501c3 status. Before that we ran as a “shop”
and by getting grants through other non-profits. We have always been a “non-
profit” endeavor.

The Gowanus Canal is recently declared a Superfund, what is your view on this?
How (if at all) do you expect it to change your non-profit organization, will there
be any effects?

The good thing is that the development that was happening which we didn’t consider sensitive to the history and community has slowed
down or stopped. The area can remain a creative space for a while longer and give the community time to consider what directions it can go in.
Proteus is a member of the CAG to the EPA which is advising on future plans.

How strong is your overall environmental focus, especially concerning the
neighborhood and canal waterway issues? Do you have specifics on how your
exhibitions relate to this?

Our Hall of the Gowanus has art, artifacts, books, a
manually manipulated time line. There is definitely material related to the
environment, including a video by a filmmaker of an oil bubble bursting on the
canal (it looks like outer space), a water sample from the canal, pressed
Gowanus wildflowers by an artists etc

What are your hopes for the future with Proteus Gowanus?

We hope to continue there for the long term. The fact that we own the space makes that probable. We
have had alot of support and interest from the community.


what cool people


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