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The ‘Elephant’ in the womb

The Brooklyn Paper
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Two artsy Brooklynites are betting that Wallabout — the northern edge of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill — will be the next “it” place in the Brooklyn art scene.

On Friday, Joe Weiner, a painter, and Tricia Wimmer, an art historian, will officially launch the Pink Elephant Projects gallery, on Washington Avenue, between Park and Flushing avenues, in a historic section of Clinton Hill that has, until recently, had a rather moribund arts scene.

Weiner and Wimmer think that’s about to change.

“There are a ton of artists studios around here,” said Wimmer.

There is also far more than a ton of new luxury housing — but, until now, no full-fledged art galleries.

Wimmer and Weiner aren’t jumping into the neighborhood blindly. Weiner is a Pratt Institute graduate who has lived in the neighborhood for seven years, and Wimmer lives in Fort Greene.

They plan to showcase Brooklyn artists, many of them from the neighborhood. First up is Charles Lutz’s show, “Denial and Acceptance,” featuring Warhol-inspired pieces.

Wimmer and Weiner said they initially searched for space on Atlantic Avenue and Lafayette Avenue, when “serendipity” stepped in. During a visit to RePOP 95% Recycled, the relatively new vintage store on the same Washington Avenue block, the two happened upon an empty space that seemed just perfect. That same block houses the upscale Cuban restaurant Mojito and Kiki’s Pet Hotel and Playcare, both in the old Chocolate Factory building.

The cluster of establishments is a bit of an island in an otherwise deserted neighborhood.

“It looks like Chelsea did 10 years ago,” said Weiner. “It’s desolate during the day. But at night, with the Chocolate Factory, it’s more traveled. There’s something going on here.”

They’re hardly the only locals to notice a difference.

Karl Carpenter, who has worked at Kiki’s for most of its three years and has lived in the Ingersoll Houses for most of his life, said he’s noticed a “significant” change in the neighborhood.

“The number of dogs coming here increases every year a little bit,” said Carpenter. And if artists and pampered puppies aren’t harbingers of gentrification, then what is?

Pink Elephant Projects gallery, (64 Washington Ave., between Flushing and Park avenues). Visit www.pepgallery.com for more information.

Updated 4:28 pm, July 9, 2018
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