5 Things Phoenix's Art Detour Can Learn from New York's Bushwick Open Studios

Categories: Visual Art

Connor Descheemaker
The Bushwick Collective occupies the walls of Troutman Street

4. Co-Branding

Every event that took place the weekend of BOS in the neighborhood mentioned the studio tour in its name. Unofficial events like the ones put together by thingNY and Bridging Bushwick Sculpture Garden each bore the name "Bushwick Open Studios," even though AiB did not put them together. Every restaurant, bar, and coffee shop I passed offered a sign or deals stating "Welcome BOS visitors!"

In building a strong brand, BOS has made it so that it is weekend's premier event. Everyone else comes to them, and knows they must acknowledge their presence in order to make their own weekends successful. It wasn't just presenting sponsors that made their presence felt at BOS; everyone knew that collaboration was the spirit of the weekend, and that co-presentation was absolutely necessary for success.

Connor Descheemaker
Members of New York's Anti-Social Music collective occupy the street during Bushwick Open Studios

3. Street Art

In addition to traditional street art, BOS put art on the streets. Performance art dominated multiple events around the tour, with musical groups both traditional and avant-garde setting up in the middle of the street, making art at every turn.

In contrast to the dependability of visual art in studios and galleries at both Art Detour and BOS, street art creates an atmosphere of here-and-now, making viewers truly excited about the art being created, however long or short it may last. While this past year Detour weekend included the first annual Paint PHX citywide mural event (an event promoted, produced, and marketed completely separate from Detour), neither one incorporated live performance art. To truly grip visitors at an art event, they must be confronted with that art everywhere, something BOS presented in spades.

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I'd be curious to know if BOS has a paid staff component or is strictly volunteer as Art Detour has been for practically 26 years. There was a short window where funding did pay for a part-time staff member, but it went away years ago.

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