McCarren Park Soon Infested With Artists and Fleas
by Jeffrey Harmatz
Apr 21, 2009 | 15141 views | 0 0 comments | 425 425 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If the spacious fields of McCarren Park weren't enough to draw Williamsburg and Greenpoint residents out of their homes this summer, Artists and Fleas has teamed up with the North Brooklyn Open Space Alliance (OSA) to create a neighborhood-defining artists market on the north side of the park.

Artists and Fleas, an artists and designers market that has become a Williamsburg institution at their location on North 6th Street will be expanding into McCarren Park for a summer engagement. The popular market has served as a venue for countless up-and-coming fashion designers, artists, and craft makers since it was created in 2003, and its curators have partnered with OSA to create a neighborhood-focused, open-air bazaar that will not only showcase local artists, but feature live performances and positive community programming.

The organizers are expecting between 35 and 50 vendors and the table fees will be split between OSA and the Parks Department, and will ultimately go back into improving the programming and infrastructure of McCarren Park.

"We've been looking to interact in a more meaningful way with the community, and showcase the creative side of the neighborhood to a broader audience," said Ronen Glimer, co-creator of Artists and Fleas. "We began speaking with OSA, and it seemed like a great opportunity to do that and raise some funds for the park at the same time."

The new outdoor market, officially known as Artists and Fleas Presents the Market at McCarren in Partnership with OSA, will be located at the north end of the park, adjacent to the equipment facility. A short walk from McCarren's green market, the artists market too will be open on Saturdays, creating a shopping extravaganza for North Brooklynites looking to buy locally produced fruits, vegetables, clothing, and art in the summer sun. Both markets will be complemented by non-amplified musical performances and creative performances.

"This is a tremendous opportunity that will benefit residents of the area by bringing new programming to the park," said Stephanie Thayer, executive director of OSA. "It's a great way to take the artistic constituency of the neighborhood and make them a part of our parks."

In addition to merchandise and performances, the new market will also allot space for a variety of non-profit and community organizations.

"We want to do education and outreach as well," said Glimer. "We're looking to do something about bicycling, and we are planning a day focused around 'greening' McCarren Park."

Many of the vendors currently involved at Artists and Fleas will be expanding to the new market, although they are seeking new vendors who specifically want to sell at McCarren Park as well. "Our hope is that the new market will complement the original Artists and Fleas," said Glimer.

The partnership between Artists and Fleas and OSA has yielded results that are exciting the community, and both groups hope that it is the beginning of a long relationship. Though only scheduled to run on Saturdays between May and September, Glimer hopes that the market and similar ventures will continue to improve McCarren Park for years to come.

"I hope that this season will become a model for future partnerships, " said Glimer.

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