In the Press: A Retail Catalyst in Brooklyn

We love a success story, especially if we’re a part of it!  Six years ago, Art Assets was hired to curate ongoing, rotating arts programs for Atlantic Gardens, a mixed-use real estate redevelopment in Brooklyn.  Our charge was to use art and culture to create community and destination.

Atlantic Gardens is comprised of eight buildings with retail tenants on the ground floor and residential tenants above.  It’s located near Atlantic Terminal and the Barclay’s Center at the intersection of several Brooklyn neighborhoods.  Despite its excellent location, the block was run-down and anything but welcoming.  The developer, Atlantic Assets Group – a partnership that includes Art Assets’ President Barbara Koz Paley –  saw an opportunity to create a thriving retail community and regenerate a micro-neighborhood in the process.

Interweaving art and music was a major part of the marketing strategy. “It makes a huge difference,” Paley says. “The community takes notice. It creates chatter. Brokers hear about it.”

In addition to restoring the original storefronts, bringing a six-thousand square foot shared garden back to life and embracing retail pop-up concepts, Atlantic Assets Group decided to use art and cultural programming to attract shoppers, families and innovative retail tenants. Art Assets created a robust series of cultural events, art installations and community collaborations that would encourage foot traffic along the street, generate interest from brokers and build exposure for the retailers.

Programming included:

ULI New York – Art Assets organized a temporary art installation in the common garden and hosted a party for the Urban Land Institute of New York. This allowed a variety of real estate professionals, including developers, brokers and investors, to experience the redevelopment project in a compelling and memorable way.

“Return” – Art Assets collaborated with Creative Time, a national arts organization, to co-host “Return,” a temporary art installation by Michael Rakowitz. The exhibition opened in a storefront recreating his grandfather’s import/export business. The object was to import Iraqi dates and to create a dialogue among a wide variety of communities: the local Muslim shopkeepers, the arts community, business leaders, and tourists.

Atlantic Avenue Art Walk – Art Assets curated dynamic art installations and performance pieces for the Annual Atlantic Avenue Art Walk for four years, including chalk artist Wayne Coe.

LightSpace – Using LED Light Art Installation, Art Assets distinguished the space at 527 Atlantic Avenue in a highly cost-effective way.

Feast! – Art Assets invited the artist’s collaborative Feast!, a multi-media performance group, to create an art installation and after-party for the Brooklyn Philharmonic. Feast! artists installed photographs, passed out baked goods and dressed in costume. This live ‘performance’ conveyed Atlantic Assets Group’s commitment to the community and local institutions.

Circus Amok – Art Assets arranged for Circus Amok, a New York-based Circus group, to inhabit a vacant storefront during renovation. They performed daily on the sidewalk outside the buildings and held classes in
the storefront for children in the community. The performers animated an otherwise unusable space and attracted local visitors to the formerly neglected block.

Aakash Nihilani – Art Assets commissioned Brooklyn artist, Aakash Nihalani, to create artwork for the exterior façade and interior spaces using neon-colored tape. This innovative installation attracted a high-profile tenant, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Caroll Taveras – To further establish Atlantic Gardens as a hybrid of art and commerce, Art Assets invited photographer Caroll Taveras to erect a pop-up studio. Taveras opened her studio to anyone who wished to have his or her photograph taken. The photographs were compiled into a travelling exhibition which is currently touring Germany.

Flaming Fires – Local arts and music collective Flaming Fires took up residency in one of the empty storefronts during the winter holiday season.  Their nightly events drew new crowds to the block and increased evening business for the food retailers.

We Are Familia – In ongoing efforts to integrate Atlantic Gardens into the fabric of Downtown Brooklyn, another local artists collective, We Are Familia, was invited to setup a temporary gallery and event space at Atlantic Gardens.  The group transformed a vacant storefront into a vibrant exhibition space with a wide range of programming that further amplified Art Assets’ efforts to attract new visitors to the development.

The art program was very successful in generating buzz in the community and in heightening the awareness of Atlantic Gardens as an attractive, creative new Brooklyn destination for retailers.  Art Assets is proud to have contributed to re-shaping this neighborhood.

Read the full article on the Urban Land website.