New York TRIP #2: LAND Studio, Brooklyn, Professional Development Research
I took an inspiring trip to Brooklyn today, to visit LAND Studio & Gallery.
LAND (League Artists Natural Design) was founded in 2005 by the League Education and Treatment Center (LETC) in New York and serves as a studio and gallery for artists with intellectual disabilities. Visiting with the experience of working in a large studio and gallery ar Arts Project Australia in Melbourne, LAND packs a punch, with 16 artists sharing a small communal space a short walk from the Brooklyn Bridge.
The studio occupies a small shop-front space next to Starbucks and is a light-filled space with music playing in the background and great energy emanating from the focused yet welcoming artists. There are numerous artworks on the go, as artists pause to say hello and introduce themselves then get back to making. It's an intimate hive of activity, with each artist committed to their individual practice despite the cramped quarters and shared workspace.
I've loved following LAND on Instagram @landgallery for some time and am never disappointed by the artwork posts shared with their 54K+ followers. Several artists I met whose work I've admired from afar included Kenya Hanley, Nicole Appel, Robert Latchman, Carlo Daleo, Garrol Gayden, and Michael Pellew.
Kenya invited me to sit while he drew my portrait, giving me a chance to sit and absorb the studio atmosphere - it was such a privilege. I also had the chance to talk to LAND staff Margot Werther (Art Therapist) and Matthew (Matt) Bede Murphy (Curator). I met Matt during my visit to New York in January at the Outsider Art Fair. LAND's space was one of the highlights for me - the artist's and work they represent is very impressive and extraordinarily dynamic. I was blown away and keen to visit the studio when I was back in February, so I'm glad I made the time to spend some time at the studio.
There are many similarities between LAND and Arts Project Australia to note, particularly in terms of the way the studio has evolved and runs. Professional artists who are staff work with volunteers to support the artists in realising their creative vision. The organisation then helps connect the artists and their work with the broader public and art world. Like Arts Project, they do this through partnerships and collaborations and have built an enviable profile in the USA and beyond - they are a professional outfit, well connected and they know what they're doing.
A few differences include: that the studio is relatively young (15 years old) compared to Arts Project (44 years old); there are 14 artists who have been selected through a recruitment process Vs Arts Project's 144 artists joining the studio if there is a place available and they have an interest in art; LAND had a studio only while Arts Project has a studio and gallery; and the artists artwork is managed by an external consultant, so artwork sales are managed through .
Here is a moment in time captured while visiting the studio in February 2019:
1/ Robert Latchman, work in progress 2/ LAND Studio & Gallery, Brooklyn 3/ I spy a Peter Ben Australians bag, owned by LAND staff member Margot Werther! 4/ Kenya Hanley portraits artwork stored in the plan drawers 5/ Kenya Hanley hamburgers artwork stored in the plan drawers 6/ Christine Lewis artworks 7/ Christine Lewis artworks 8/ Byron Smith artworks 9/ Byron Smith artworks 10/ Carefully glassined artworks by Raquel Albarran
11/ Kenya Hanley working on a new artwork
12/ LAND studio & gallery
13/ LAND studio & gallery
14/ Kenya Hanley working on a new portrait of me!