When talking about street art in Brooklyn, Bushwick is the most common neighborhood to be mentioned. But our next door neighbor Gowanus is next in line. The largely industrial neighborhood has a plethora of wall space for graffiti artists and warehouses that double as artist studios.
If you are interested in exploring the neighborhood’s hidden art, take a tour with Rich Garr of Gotham SideWalks. An artist himself, Rich leads tours through the neighborhood, exploring the different types of graffiti, tags, and wheat pastes that line the streets and explaining the history of street art.
Details about the Gowanus Canal and its quirky infrastructure are also shared as guests walk through the neighborhood often defined by this polluted body of water. But Rich points out, art is in the engineering and architecture, and it’s in and on the buildings too.
The tour ventures inside and outside, not just viewing graffiti but also stopping inside studios in the area. And that mix of studio art and street art is what makes the walk such an interesting experience.
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Rich is particularly good at pointing out the interesting pieces that on most days would be easy to walk right past. “Art is often hidden in plain sight,” says Rich. And sometimes purposely so. Some of the most interesting pieces featured on the walk are the ones that are incorporated into the surroundings, for instance, a pair of signs that look like typical street signs (seen above and below).
There’s so much street art to see in Gowanus that the Rich’s two-hour tour only begins to scratch the surface, but it’s a great first look into the scene.