Art21 New York Close Up

Caroline Woolard Steps Up to the Mic

Artist Caroline Woolard speaking at the inaugural meeting of the New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative (Middle Collegiate Church, East Village, 4.28.15). Production still from the series, Art21 New York Close Up. Cinematography by Rafael Salazar. © Art21, Inc. 2015.

Today’s New York Close Up premiere—our first film with artist Caroline Woolard—is a little different. And that has everything to do with Caroline. Her work involving affordable space in New York City gave us an opportunity to explore issues that we have been hoping to tackle since the inception of the New York Close Up series. Her passion and humor and honesty around these issues help set the tone for a film that is definitely out of our documentary comfort zone.

So, in the spirit of a film that’s trying a lot of very non-Art21 things, we wanted to release the film a little differently with a brief statement from Caroline herself:

Why don’t more artists talk about the connection between art and real estate in their life and work? This is a video about how I’ve been able to survive in New York City since 2002, and why I am finally waking up to the power of organizing to stay put. As an artist living and working in New York City, I feel that I cannot stand aside and watch as developers and landlords price out each small business, community group, and cultural organization that makes our city inclusive, safe, and vibrant. I hope this video inspires the art students, arts graduates, and working artists who are not already involved in place-based organizing to get involved in local organizing for development without displacement. If you are based in New York City, I hope you will look into the Real Estate Investment Cooperative (NYCREIC) and its organizational stewards: 596 Acres, Spaceworks, Fourth Arts Block, #BlackLandMatters, and Brooklyn Law School’s Center for Urban Business and Entrepreneurship. NYCREIC exists to secure permanently affordable space for civic, cultural, and cooperative use. By leveraging the political power and patient investments of members, we aim to stabilize neighborhoods and build a resilient city.