Solidarity Space Art Installation, November 2018 - curated by artist-in-residence Anna Lise Jensen featuring visiting artist John W. Tomac

Interviews provided by The Indypendent’s coverage: https://indypendent.org/2018/11/a-place-for-solidarity-in-bay-ridge-brooklyn/

Anna Lise Jensen
Solidarity Space artist-in-residence
Bay Ridge resident since 2013

What’s your relationship with the space?

When Ross decided to run for State Senate, I did some research and I made up my mind I wanted to support him. As an artist I was trying to figure out what I could do. So once we got the campaign headquarters, I pitched to him for me to be the artist-in-residence, curate the space and then also merge communities of artists with activists and politicians. When he did not win the primary he and his team decided to turn it into a community space, I pitched again and set up basically the same framework. I did set it up to add additional infrastructure so one wall would represent the four seasons, and also involve other artists. 

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Why do you think this space is important?

I think it’s so important for artists and activists and politicians to be in constant contact along with everyone in the neighborhood but especially for people who are working really hard to implement some actual changes so not just protesting or critiquing. This is a place to really work in terms of policies and give feedback on the variety of issues that are going on in Bay Ridge. 

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Why is it important for it to be here in Bay Ridge?

We need a lot of change in Bay Ridge, and now we need to absolutely stay on top of these changes. This space can become a place for checks and balances. We have a journalist who is from here, writers, people who are up to date on the various policies so it will become a vibrant place where we can keep an eye and give feedback on things. Hopefully everyone is going to be in touch, it’s not like there is going to be a wall between us and the local politicians. It could actually be a space to host discussions if people aren’t satisfied with the way things are going.

Why is art important for this center?

Art is everything. I think just as politics can be very specific about policy issues, art can sometimes transcend everything, where it’s not so particular and yet it is still there describing everything that’s going on in a different way. 


John Tomac
Current exhibiting artist at Solidarity Space
Has lived in Bay Ridge since 2011

How did you become involved in Solidarity Space?

I met Annalise Jensen through another group I’m active with, Bike South Brooklyn, and she invited me to hang some art up in the space. 

Why is this important?

I think it’s good to just have a space for art in the neighborhood, in the context of politics and action and everything else. As somebody who is self-employed, who lives here, who’s sort of detached from what’s going on with the rest of the world, and just what’s going on in the neighborhood in general, it’ good to have this place that’s focused on that. 

Why is this space important for you in terms of art?

Right now, it’s a venue for my work to be on display for an audience that might not have seen it. It’s good to find some people with I guess like-minded ideas or my neighbors who I haven’t met yet.

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Jordan Rathkopf