Art Series Lets the Gainfully Employed Show Off Their Side Hustles

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If the term “side hustle” wasn’t invented in New York, it surely migrated here at an impressionable young age. With even successful artists leaving the city because “creativity requires the freedom to fail,” most everyone with a creative bent who chooses to stick it out actually makes money doing something much less exciting (and by “most everyone,” I mean let’sgowith 98% of creative types). We get entire books wrestling with the drama of how to make money doing what you love, if what you love doesn’t have some obvious utility, like teaching. What about an art show for these artists?

Enter the aptly-named art series Side Hustle, whose mission is to “provide access for creative expression to dedicated and accomplished artists whose full-time jobs are independent of their artistic careers.” It’s an idea so obvious in retrospect that it seems unbelievable that no one thought of it before.

Side Hustle was founded by Alyssa Gruen and Karoleen Decastro, two tech-industry designers who moonlight as an illustrator and painter, respectively. “It all came from wanting to paint again outside my design job,” says Decastro. “But I’m happy that Side Hustle has become such a huge creative and philanthropic outlet for other artists, too.”

Each exhibition will be a one-night-only pop-up event. The first one is tonight at Baco, in Dumbo at 71 Jay Street. It’ll showcase the work of a dozen or so artists, with auction proceeds going to Mount Sinai’s Child Life & Creative Arts Therapy department. And here’s something all starving artists will appreciate: there’s an open bar.


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