Photoville: a Free Exhibit in Brooklyn Bridge Park
We love exposing our kids to cool art, especially when it's FREE. And Photoville is just that: no-cost, cutting-edge culture that, although aimed at adults, happens to be (mostly) kid-friendly.
This temporary photo exhibit is on view through Sunday in Brooklyn Bridge Park and is housed in a bunch of old shipping containers on Pier 3. In addition to being totally FREE, Photoville's proximity to other fun activities in the waterfront park makes it worth a visit, especially if you've got a child who's really into photography, like my daughter. That said, since some of the subject matter is heavy and there aren't any interactive experiences, Photoville may not be of interest to all young children and is probably best enjoyed by tweens and teens.
Most of the 27 exhibits are appropriate for all ages and the few that aren't have warning signs posted outside. While the themes are varied, many works tackle local or political subjects, like an examination of the ongoing transformation of Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy neighborhood, or a series of portraits of homeless transgendered teens. Themes like these will most likely go over the heads of younger children, as they did with my daughter.
However, there were plenty of pieces she did get, like Greenhouse, a display filled with colorful "camera flowers" created by Brazilian artist André Feliciano. We wished we had a puppy so he could enjoy the 800-square-foot Dog Park complete with water access and a photo fence. If your child isn't afraid of pitch darkness, enter the Camera Obscura container to see an upside-down view of the Dog Park. It's pretty cool. There's also a rotating roster of top-notch food trucks in the Beer Garden.
Having studied photography at the School of Visual Arts, I was pleased to see that Photoville is more than just an exhibit; it's also hosting FREE hands-on workshops for people interested in pursuing the craft. Although these sessions are currently sold out online, there may be a few last-minute tickets available on site. There are some really interesting offerings this weekend like working with a Polaroid 600 series camera, Lomography (analog photography) and how to make a camera out of anything. (There are lectures, too, that are first-come, first-served but they're probably not of interest to kids.)
To get to Photoville, check out the detailed map on the website. If you come by subway, it's easiest to walk down Old Fulton Street toward the East River until you reach Furman Street. But for a more picturesque stroll, find the pathway near the water, not by the traffic. Afterward, walk through Brooklyn Bridge Park between Piers 3 and 1 to explore The Fence, a 1,000-foot display of images printed on photographic mesh that explore the theme of community.