119 Spring Street-first loft85 Mercer Street- plus 40 years
The other artists, the ability to interact and learn from one another, building a community of fellow artists, using our studios to show each other's work, the peace and quiet to make art and think creatively. I miss the all night diners. I miss gathering at Fanelli's when Mike was still alive and his son's worked there. I miss the manufacturing community that worked here, though many in sweatshops. Yet it made the neighborhood real.
Living here illegally, having no garbage pickup, no street lights at night. I do not romanticize the sweatshops that misused migrant or illegal workers. But I miss the integrity of people working for a living to make a better world for their families.
The buildings, the architecture that is so compelling both inside and out. It was a soulful place filled with artist of diverse background, drawn here from every part of the US and abroad to try and make art of every kind; jazz, poetry, sculpture, dance, painting, and photography etc. The energy was amazing and unique because we were here in one area while the rest of the city for the most part ignored us.
I have many slides of the lofts and artists studios from the late 1960's and early 1970's. I have street shots, I have internal shots. I show these slides from time to time in University and other settings. I used an NEA grant at the time to fund the project to include about 14 artists and their studios. Some went on to fame, like Hannah Wilkie and Jackie Whitten. I would be happy to share these with your project if you are interested.