While the community continues to piece together the confusing, disheartening mess surrounding 3rd Ward’s closure (Hyperallergic has a pretty comprehensive look at what actually happened), local artists and organizations—many of whom are still owed money by the shuttered organization—have done an impressive job of coming together, with institutions like Brooklyn Brainery, Course Horse, and even Manhattan’s National Academy School stepping up to offer classes and services to displaced former members. Local writer and teacher Robin Grearson is now doing one better, having wrangled more than twenty small businesses, as well as teachers and artists, for “What’s Next? Creating Community,” designed as a post-3rd Ward means of bringing Brooklyn’s creative community together.
“The collapse was so sudden and final that it didn’t allow anyone to come up with solutions as a community,” says Grearson, a former freelance instructor at 3rd Ward (“I’m not one of the people they owe money to,” she notes). “The people I met through 3rd Ward are all really creative, talented people. If anyone can build something from nothing on a moment’s notice, it’s this group. I just wanted them to find a place to be able to start talking to each other. ”
The event quickly found a home at Brooklyn Brewery (which donated its tasting room and use of its staff for the night), and will essentially serve as a means of connecting 3rd Ward’s former denizens with like-minded local institutions like Brooklyn Fire Proof, Mellow Pages, Silent Barn, and Union Docs. “Former instructors will be talking about new projects and plans, small businesses will be introduced who serve tech, fashion, and culinary communities,” Grearson says. “Speakers will talk about free stuff they’re offering displaced students, and classrooms will be connecting with instructors–all free, all for individuals to find their own ways to build/make/design/learn.”
All of which sounds like a pretty solid way to spend a night, even if it’s coming as the result of a dubiously run business leaving trusting local artists in the lurch. Grearson also notes, “People feel the loss of 3rd Ward because it attracted so many talented, smart, and creative people. But the people were its strength, and they’re still here. I want to see value return to the creative community instead of a group investors.” Doesn’t seem like a bad idea to us.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.