There is no shortage of coffee shops in Park Slope. Walk into just about any of them, and you'll find small reasonably-priced artwork adorning the walls. But despite the fact that coffee shops in this neighborhood cater to an audience that easily spends $6 on a Dirty Chai, the life of a starving artist in the hood is, well, a little hungry.
Getting artwork displayed around Park Slope is no easy feat. Owners want something "edgy and unique," yet sometimes doing just that will get an artist's work censored (remember the canvas strips that covered up painted, bare breasts at Tea Lounge a while back?) On the bright side, some coffee shops and restaurants are willing to provide more support than just a few painting hooks on their walls.
Matheo Piscotta and Mary Fraioli, owners of the Dizzy's diners in the neighborhood, host a monthly artist exhibit, complete with a reception. Artists are selected by Radar Curatorial's Michele Jaslow to participate in their featured art program. In addition to having their work on display at either of their Dizzy's locations -- 511 9th Street, or their brand new location at 230 5th Avenue -- artists are promoted on the Dizzy's website. The diner even hosts a meet-the-artist night where patrons can hang out, drink wine and talk to the artist. On top of all that, the wait staff gets a commission if they aid in selling a piece.
"Dizzy's is a very special place," Michele Jaslow said. "They are unbelievably supportive about bringing arts to the community." Jaslow focuses on bringing art to alternative spaces like the Gowanus Mac Support Store or Red, White and Bubbly. "It work outs well for the public. People who wouldn't necessarily see it have conversations they wouldn't necessarily have." If you want to check out Dizzy's on 5th latest artist, Paul Catalanotto, stop by this upcoming Thursday at 7PM. Paul has a modern take on frescoes with a third dimensional quality.
Last year, artist Mari Lowery displayed her photography at Cafe Grumpy in Park Slope. Her photos, taken with a Holga camera on Polaroid paper, were hung up in the narrow storefront. For Mari, it was mainly about sharing her visual inspirations with other. She says that she was able to sell a couple of pieces during her showing. More so, the attention her work received from people waiting for their soy lattes resulted in online orders after her work was no longer up.
At Grumpy's, owner Caroline Bell says the waiting list for artists is a few months in. The coffee shop makes sure not to repeat styles month after month at any other Manhattan or Brooklyn locations. Artists are also featured on the Cafe Grumpy website and handle all sales of their work.
While Grumpy's offers their artists a lot, they have less traffic and people hanging out sipping their $6 Americanos then, say, Cocoa Bar. But Ray Soltani, the manager at the chocolate coffee shop, says he's pretty selective about artists, adding that each one must split the revenue with the coffee shop when a piece sells.
So if you're one of the lucky few artists showing of your work at s'Nice, Dizzy's, or hell, even Starbucks... you're bound to make a few bucks shilling your paintings. Maybe even enough to buy a cup of coffee.