Studio 889 garners praise for Hunts Point

Photo by Hanan Tabbara
Alejandra Delfin greets visitors at the opening of Studio 889’s Holiday Art Show.

By Hanan Tabbara

When the holiday art show opened at 889 Hunts Point Avenue on Dec. 6, no one was prouder than 11-year-old Isabelle A. Cotte.

Two of her prints had been accepted for the exhibit and sale. Isabelle said she was “very excited” and “honored” to show her prints–one of a blue and green shaded tree leaf titled “Serenity,” and the second, an abstract piece left without any name but “Untitled.”

“The art takes a while,” Isabelle said, but “Alejandra encourages us. She’s very nice and funny but still teaches.”

“Alejandra” is Alejandra Delfin, an artist and activist born in Peru, who moved to Hunts Point 10 years ago after living in Ecuador, France and Switzerland.

Delfin is the founder of Studio 889, and also works at The Point as a graphics designer and its webmaster. In November, and the IntrepidSea, Air & SpaceMuseum honored her as a Hometown Hero for her contribution to the community through the printmaking workshop at Studio 889. Delfin is also the recipient of the Bronx Council on the Arts’ BRIO Award for artistic excellence.

This holiday season, Delfin, along with other artists and organizers at Studio 889 opened their space to share the gift of art by hosting the Second Annual Holiday Exhibition. The exhibition featured prints by the studio’s resident artists and artists from the community, as well as selected artists from all over the United States and from six other countries, including France, Canada and Peru.

The instructors at Studio 889 push the students to succeed, said Judith Raphael, a Hunts Point artist and a participant in the adult printmaking workshops. “Alejandra, especially.”

“She is very creative and supportive. Every time I made a mistake, she encouraged me to keep going. She would demonstrate for me and that always helped take my art piece further.”

Christopher Staples, a mixed media artist from Carmel, in upstate New York, couldn’t “say enough good things” about the work that Studio 889 is engaged in.

Staples, who submitted two prints to the exhibit, said she was “pleased” to be part of the show and “part of the change” that Studio 889 represents.

“They’re doing a wonderful job here,” she said. “It is exciting to be here to see what they are doing in the community and also be part of it.”

Until this year, Studio 889 shared the Hunts Point Avenue storefront with MUD/BONE, a theater company devoted to the work of artists of color. The two groups often collaborated. Now that MUD/BONE has moved to Brooklyn, the space is devoted entirely to visual art.

News of the holiday exhibit traveled as far as Australia. Two artists from down under were among those who attended.

“The work is absolutely fantastic,” said one of them, Deborah Klein, who was visiting the Bronx for the first time. “There is variety in the work, and the organizers have made amazing use of the space. They set it up lovely.”

Rodrick Wynter, a board member of Studio 889, said the studio’s success is proof that the “community is capable of having a place like this.”

“The history of Hunts Point has not afforded people to open up,” he said. “But that is changing. People are gradually opening up. Now you can knock on your neighbor’s door and ask your neighbor for a cup of sugar and they will give it to you. Now people walk into a space like this and enjoy it.”

Wynter, who has traveled extensively, returned to his home in Hunts Point to be part of the change that is taking place in the neighborhood.

“The community is growing,” he said, “and I came to be part of the growth.”

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