Art felt support

The Brooklyn Paper

Borough President Markowitz has long been known as a champion of cheesecake — but now the portly beep wants to be known as a patron of the arts.

On Sunday, Dec. 14, Markowitz’s Best of Brooklyn organization will provide shuttle vans to spirit passengers to 64 galleries throughout the borough on four separate routes in the first of what he hopes will be an annual “smART Brooklyn” gallery hop.

“With all the artists living and working here, I like to say that Brooklyn is the creative capital of New York City,” Markowitz said. “We’ve got scores of hip galleries, many showcasing the work of emerging Brooklyn artists.”

The festival is as much about looking at art as it is about buying it, Markowitz added. Curators will be onboard and will give short lectures about art history, how people can begin collecting art and what kinds of art will appreciate in value. Art in the galleries includes everything from painting to sculpture to photography, and more.

“It’s an attempt to make art more accessible, and to be open to answering even rudimentary questions about art collecting,” said Markowitz’s spokeswoman Laura Sinagra. “We wanted to do for art what the Book Festival has done for books in the literary community.”

Gallery owners hope that’s the case.

“It makes people aware that we exist, that we are here, that a lot of art can be sold here in Brooklyn without going to Manhattan or even going through the web,” said Raphael Fodde, owner of the 5+5 Gallery in DUMBO.

The shuttle vans are paid for out of money raised by the Markowitz-controlled charity, Best of Brooklyn. That fund solicits contributions from Brooklyn-based corporations and has come under fire recently after The Brooklyn Paper reported that one of its principal benefactors is Forest City Ratner, whose Atlantic Yards project has enjoyed unwavering support from Markowitz. Government watchdogs questioned the propriety of Markowitz taking donations from companies that do business with city government.

To ride the bus, you must pre-register by calling (718) 802–3530. Go to www.brooklyn-usa.org to download and print out the color-coded routes.

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