Located in a choice space — a former industrial boiler — across the street from a waterfront park in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood, the gallery and studio complex Smack Mellon was the most badly hit of the neighborhood’s art spaces during Hurricane Sandy. Its basement studio spaces in particular, which are filled through the non-profit’s residency program, took on a devastating amount of water, and now it’s going to take a whopping $330,000 to get the studios back in shape, the New York Daily News reports.
“Just cleaning up took six weeks — it was really a nightmare,” Smack Mellon executive director Kathleen Gilrain told the Daily News. “Now we want to move forward but we need cash.” While the upstairs gallery was largely spared storm damage, the studios took in six feet of water. The total cost of the damage reached $406,000, though Gilrain and her staff have managed to secure some $70,000 in charitable donations from the organization’s usual benefactors. A new exhibition opened in the upstairs gallery on Saturday after the building finally got its power back on Christmas eve.
Still, the six downstairs studios — whose artist occupants have been moved to other spaces by Two Trees Management, the real estate group that owns much of DUMBO, including the Smack Mellon building — need entirely new walls, wiring, and just about every other manner of renovation imaginable.
“These are mid-career artists who haven’t become art stars. It’s a blue-collar job,” Gilrain told the Daily News. “After a year in our studios they get a leg up in their careers.” She continued: “We need hundreds of people to give small donations… We really have to reach out to people who may not even know about Smack Mellon.”
People interested in helping can learn more about Smack Mellon and donate to its reconstruction efforts here.
— Benjamin Sutton
(Photo courtesy Smack Mellon.)