Dumbo’s waterfront arts district– world-class performance venues, premier art galleries, artist residency programs, public art & festivals.
A.I.R. stands for Artists in Residence and is all about promoting female artists through exhibitions, lectures, symposia, and other events that focus on the intersection of feminism and art.
When it was founded in 1972, A.I.R. was the first not-for-profit, artist-directed and maintained gallery for women artists in the US. Twenty female artists joined together to create new opportunities for female artists, which was a pretty big deal at the time.
These days, A.I.R. hands the reins to artists in a way that many other galleries don’t. When artists show at A.I.R., they are entirely in charge of their exhibitions – each artist curates and installs her work, which facilitates more experimentation and risk-taking than would be possible elsewhere.
If you happen to be in the New York area in the summer, you might also want to visit A.I.R. Gallery’s annual exhibition on Governor’s Island. Entitled “New Art in an Old House,” it presents the work of current female artists inside and outside a beautiful, old home on the island. It generally runs from the end of July to the end of September and is a cool way to check out art in an unconventional setting.
When you visit the Dumbo gallery, don’t expect to see art that represents any one medium, theme or style -- A.I.R. Gallery is proud to show that the work of female artists is just as diverse as that of male artists. You’ll see everything from photography to textiles to sculpture that all demonstrate distinct perspectives.
One of the coolest things they do every year is hosting a postcard art contest and show called, “Wish You Were Here.” Artists of any gender identity can submit a 4 x 6-inch artwork in any medium for consideration. The chosen pieces are shown and put up for sale for $45 per postcard with the proceeds going to fund valuable A.I.R. programs. It also is a fun way to make art accessible and affordable to the masses.
Although female artists today don't face the same challenges as those of the 70s did, A.I.R. Gallery remains a unique place that prioritizes the work of women every day, year after year. If you're in Dumbo, this historical institution is certainly worth a visit.
Cover photo credit: www.artindumbo.com