In a neighborhood where the average one-bedroom rental has crept up to $1,958 per month, can an alternative, nonprofit gallery and music space keep its head above the water? Yes—and Secret Project Robot is doing more than just surviving in Bushwick.
For the past decade, co-founders Eric Zajaceskowski and Rachel Nelson (and friends) have been throwing parties, curating exhibitions, and creating a space for up-and-coming musicians to jam late into the night (like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs before they were the Grammy Award-winning Yeah Yeah Yeahs). And this Saturday, they’re launching the Summer of Robot to celebrate their ten years of Music, Art and Love.
The history of Secret Project Robot is what happens when a group of friends get together to throw parties in a second story, former spice warehouse in Williamsburg and call it Mighty Robot, at a time in the late-90s when loft spaces were cheap, grimy, and inside industrial warehouses that had not been gutted and repurposed by developers to be resold as luxury “artists” lofts. Mighty Robot would get people together, bring in great bands, and everyone would have fun.
In 2004, Mighty Robot started adding art installations to their musical repetoire and Secret Project Robot was born. Seven years later, all the warehouse occupants lost their lease and so Secret Project Robot had to find a new home—in a former auto-body repair shop in Bushwick.
“When in 2011 we moved to Bushwick we were overwhelmed by the next generation of artists, party makers and musicians that continued to desire and find a home at Secret Project Robot,” they write in a recent press release. Now, Secret Project Robot has a gallery, two stages, and three sound proofed repurposed metal freight containers, and provides eight affordable, collaborative studios to twenty seven artists.
So, what’s in store for the Summer of Robot? Check out their art gallery openings, gigs, and other fun events here.