Say Bushwick to a New Yorker. Results may vary. I’d never been to Bushwick, I am naïve in regard to it and most of Brooklyn. I am definitely going to be back; it should be visited.

Now more than ever, the lines between community, connectivity, and art are blurring. As is the case with all things, change happens. It’s easy to be skeptical of the drive to change in a booming market, but there’s a reason to be active. Even if all it takes is the patience to notice and the time to look.

Cutting the fluffy shit, Bushwick is a hip-fucking place, bohemian and expressionistic. Travis Rix and Justin Aversano eat, live, and breathe their community. Graduates from the School of Visual Arts photography department they are engaged with their surroundings, neighbors, and culture. That’s why they started #SAVEARTSPACE. Never heard of it? Its mission is simple; integrate art back into a community that is being flooded with gentrification and deep pockets looking to make a quick buck. Rix and Aversano ennoble their mission and want to help reclaim communities that are ripe with personality.

How do you define a community?

When I sat down to talk with Rix and Aversano, a quote from Chuck Palahniuk kept running through my mind, “You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis…” Community is how we come together, how we are brought together. We share with one another and taking the time to step back and see the spectrum of that conversation is captured through art. #SAVEARTSPACE shares that dialogue with a larger community. “We do not grow completely.” A community is young and old, uneven, and exciting. By buying corporate advertising space, throughout a large portion of Bushwick, Rix and Aversano have begun the mission of their nonprofit, #SAVEARTSPACE. It celebrates the vision of young and old through art. Drawing, painting, photography, and poetry currently occupy space that otherwise would be given to advertisers to sell a product or a service. Now these spaces highlight the talents of otherwise unrecognized artists. For the next several weeks these billboards, spanning roughly two miles, will share in dialogue with Bushwick’s local streets. The billboards were launched in tandem with BUSHWICK OPEN STUDIOS.

#SAVEARTSPACE is for the public, and billboards are just the beginning. Rix and Aversano share with me their vision of guerrilla style art galleries. Rented out spaces filled from floor to ceiling with the art of a community that they are currently building and archiving. #SAVEARTSPACE reaches out to people to submit original works, and no person is left behind. People who were not selected for this event are not forgotten. As more happens, more space will be made. Every person makes #SAVEARTSPACE what it is, a platform for difference and a driving voice for change in an all to often forgotten portion of the art market.

Find out how to submit your original work and how to support #SAVEARTSPACE here.

Follow #SAVEARTSPACE on instagram.

Find these billboards and MORE!

Efrem Zelony-Mindell is an artist who lives in New York. For more of his work click here …

For a similar story click here …

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