project leader
Johnny T
J.J. Byrne Playground, 4th St and 5th Ave
(Gowanus and Red Hook Brooklyn)
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the project

Brooklyn Utopias: Along the Canal, is a  public outdoor exhibition inviting artists to consider what a “Utopia” would look like for the communities of the neighborhoods bordering the Gowanus Canal. These include Gowanus, Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill, and Red Hook. Artists may comment on existing “utopian” endeavors in these communities, or imagine their own. These outdoor exhibitions will run in conjunction with the Brooklyn Utopias indoor exhibition at The Old Stone House.

The project is a public outdoor art exhibition of printed banners hung on the fences surrounding J.J. Byrne Playground and Coffey Park. The exhibitions will feature artists of all media and career stages. Artists will comment on one of the above neighborhoods and address the following questions:

  • What does a “Brooklyn Utopia” look like for you, specifically in the neighborhoods bordering the Gowanus Canal?

  • How can this area’s unique history, as well as current developments, inform its future?

  • What is the role of artists in creating a more “Utopian” Gowanus? 

These outdoor exhibitions allow artists to introduce ideas to improve their community and make a more positive future for their neighborhood. These artists will address a wide variety of issues including equity, diversity, political and social structures, environmental issues, gentrification, and financial instability in order to present a collective vision of a more positive future.

The Brooklyn Utopias series was first conceived in 2009 by OSH Contemporary Curator Katherine Gressel as a way for artists to respond to Brooklyn’s resurging popularity in the 21st Century and often competing and controversial rebuilding and rebranding efforts. It was also inspired by Brooklyn’s history as an enclave for artists, social reformers, immigrants, environmentalists and others drawn to its iconic neighborhoods. This is the first time we will be incorporating banner exhibitions to accompany the indoor art exhibition.


the steps

We are currently accepting artist submissions via our website until March 1st, 2022.

March 10th - selections by our 6 curators are made and all entrants notified. 

March 10th - April 1st - we will organize the photography of artworks for those who need it and don't have access to photo equipment. 

April 1st - Graphic Designers prepare banners for printers, delivered by April 3rd.

April 8th - installation of Banners

April 9th - Opening of the event at Coffey Park

April 10th - Opening of the event at J.J. Byrne Playground

why we're doing it

Artists have long been drawn to the idea of utopia, defined as an ideal place or state, or any visionary system of political, social, environmental, or moral perfection. The idea of utopia is more relevant now than ever as the covid-19 pandemic, climate crises, gentrification, and financial instability are playing out in very local ways in our communities. Artists will respond to the unique history, communities, organizations, environmental needs and cultural landscape of the Gowanus area. They can celebrate elements of the neighborhood's past or present that already feel "Utopian" (and worth preserving), comment on existing plans for the area's future, or propose their own. While the notion of “Utopia” is often a speculative one, we are curious about the ways in which your personal experiences in these communities may help shape a broader vision of utopia, with both local and global implications. In a rapidly changing Brooklyn, we seek to highlight the resilience and joy we experience as we look towards creating a more equitable and inclusive future.


Disbursed budget 4.19.2022

Banner Printing - $3116

Transportation/Installation - $932.37

Project Managers - $2000

Banner Design - $2400

Photography - $700

Opening Day Expenses - $406.13

Total = $9,554.50

TOTAL RAISED = $9,700.00
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $145.50

Original Budget:

Banner Printing - $4000

Transportation/installation - $850

Project Manager for each park (2 x $1000)  - $2000

Curator/Artist stipends - $1000

Promotional Materials - $500

Design - $700

Artwork Photographers - $500

Opening Day expenses- $500


ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)

Donation processing fees apply to donations only. 100% of match funding goes to projects. Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised and amount of match funding applied to this campaign.


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This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Ella Y.
  • Anonymous
  • Tankhouse
  • Grace & Michael Freedman (Why Not Art)
  • Behzad A.
  • Claire L.
  • Brendan A.