The entrance to the galleries at 111 Front Street (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

The entrance to 111 Front Street (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

The lion’s share of the art galleries in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood, long housed along a hallway on the second floor of 111 Front Street, will move this spring. Two Trees Management, the real estate company that owns many of the buildings in the neighborhood, including 111 Front Street, will provide new spaces for most of the galleries in storefront locations along Plymouth Street and in the former Galapagos Art Space building. The moves are due to happen in late April and early May.

“The galleries will take over retail spaces on Plymouth Street, and we are converting the former Galapagos building,” Lisa Kim, the director of cultural affairs at Two Trees, told Hyperallergic. “This street-level presence will be a big move for the galleries, and we’re excited to be able to make this happen.”

Art spaces currently located in 111 Front Street include Klompching Gallery, Stephen Romano Gallery, Kunsthalle Projects, and Masters Projects. Among those making the move to the new locations will be the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC), which has had offices and an exhibition space at 111 Front Street for a decade; United Photo Industries, which also organizes Photoville and outdoor exhibitions of photography; the feminist nonprofit A.I.R. Gallery, which will take up residence at 155 Plymouth Street; and Minus Space, which moved to Dumbo from Gowanus in 2011.

The former Galapagos Art Space building, which will soon house several galleries

“The spaces are being built out as we speak, and they will be really terrific. We are really looking forward to this move,” Matthew Deleget, co-founder and co-director of Minus Space, told Hyperallergic. “We are finalizing all the plans, relocation details, and our upcoming exhibition schedule as we speak.” His gallery move to a ground floor space in the former Galapagos Art Space building.

Many of the longtime tenants of 111 Front Street plan to take advantage of the new spaces, while gallerists who arrived in the area more recently are weighing their options.

“Now that I’ve experienced Dumbo I may try and stay, as it is a really great neighborhood,” said Jessica Porter, director of the Chelsea-based Porter Contemporary, which opened a satellite space at 111 Front Street in December and has a lease there through late April. “I’m not part of the relocation efforts at this time since we came in on a temporary lease, but Two Trees knows of my interest to remain in the neighborhood should the opportunity come up.”

Vacant storefronts on Plymouth Street that will soon house galleries

All of the gallerists that Hyperallergic contacted about the impending relocation had nothing but praise for their landlord, an anomaly in the annals of New York City real estate.

“We have a 10-year relationship with Two Trees, who has been a very philanthropic landlord,” said Courtney J. Wendroff, the visual arts director and chief of staff at BAC. “They are relocating us and, for BAC, building out a brand new office space in another building in Dumbo.”

It’s heartening to hear of a landlord prioritizing the arts, especially in a neighborhood where commercial real estate has become a hot commodity over the last decade. It also illustrates to what extent the neighborhood’s artists and galleries are dependent on Two Trees’ enduring goodwill.

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Benjamin Sutton

Benjamin Sutton is an art critic, journalist, and curator who lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn. His articles on public art, artist documentaries, the tedium of art fairs, James Franco's obsession with Cindy...