Growing up in NYC you are exposed to so much art, down to the stinky and dirty subways stations, all the way up to the very tip of the Empire State Building, (only to find out that it’s just one of the many skyscrapers that make up one incredible skyline). The way this city was built, was to celebrate its artistic beauty. It’s the reason why I became an art enthusiast. My love for art lead me to move to Brooklyn; a place enriched with so much culture, history and creativity. It was looked at as a place of refuge for my imaginative mind. So as soon as I had the opportunity, I settled myself inside the mecca of the starving young artists; Bushwick.
From there I started my artistic exploration. It’s lead me to many places such as , the Living Gallery, Studio 10, Secret Project Robot as well as the Soho 20. One day as I was getting brunch with a friend, we came across a beautiful glass storefront in what turned out to be a gallery in the middle of an industrial zone, across the street from what appeared to be a junk yard. It was an odd location to be for a wonderful piece of architecture. Nonetheless, my friend and I walked in.
As soon as we opened the doors, we felt as if we were transported to a different dimension or a different part of the world that haven’t been discovered yet, filled with so much wonder. As soon as you walk in, you feel as if you were breathing another source of fresh air. A lot has to do with the spacious atmosphere the gallery provides. Similar to the size of a full basketball court, the gallery is constructed with large bright white walls, incredible and well positioned lighting, surrounded by cohesive body of art work. But what makes this space extra special is the large glass wall, that projects unbelievable shadows and light that pierces through the sky. The illumination of to sun light made each piece of art work look so vivid. To somehow give a piece of art lifelike quality in this city is so rare. Depending on how the sun is behaving, the pieces tend to show a different characteristic of itself that wouldn’t find in any normal gallery. From a spectator’s point of view, you become a subject along with the art, helping the artist drive it’s artistic vision and message. You instantly feel as if the artwork is apart of you and vise versa.
As I walked around embracing the extraordinary pieces around me, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of a warm aroma going through my body. For a while, I couldn’t pin point where it was coming from. And then all of a sudden, I heard a light tapping coming from afar, only for it to get louder and faster. As I turned around, running in full speed with huge grin on it’s face, I was greeted by a black short haired hound dog, the individual that the gallery was named after, Odetta.
Like a friend that you haven’t seen or spoken to in a while but greeted you with nothing but love, respect and affection. It was clear where the aroma I was feeling earlier came from. Odetta latched on to me, licking my hand, wagging it’s tail with pure joy as if to tell me to stay and explore more. Soon after, the owner, Ellen Fagan, came out from the corner of the back room and welcomed me into her establishment.
We quickly got into talking about many things, all motivated by art. Ellen, walked me through every art piece, providing me in depth description about the piece itself as well as a genuine information about the artist. It was evident that this was not just an art gallery for her and her patrons, it was an oasis. The amount of care and thoughtfulness she displayed met that she actually took the time to research and find these incredible artists to put on a phenomenal exhibition, month after month.
With exhibitions like Becoming , Textual, and Seeing Sound as well as Kiosk. Ellen tenacity and effort helps put ODETTA into a different class of up and coming NYC galleries. ODETTA is filled with variations of contemporary art that curates to a wide range of demographics. It’s the type of artwork that speaks to people on all levels. Her business not only benefits the art enthusiast but also the well regarded and sometimes unknown artists from all over the world, such as Jane Harris, Elana Herzog, Thomas Lendvai, Rico Gatson, Linda Cunningham, even my friend Lourdes Rivera (intern at Odetta), have had their tremendous work showcased to the public in the Bushwick gallery one way or another. Parallel to any great curator and show runner, Ellen Fagan does a great job of helping the talented artists a space to display their creations properly to the world. Now if you pay close attention you can also discover special art pieces by Ellen herself that makes up the characteristics of her own life and adventure that led her to create the paradise she has today.
Along to being a great businesswomen, Ellen Fagan as become a great mentor. It is not surprising that her efforts has lead ODETTA to be one of the most talked about galleries in the area leading her to great success thus far with many cool shows in the works.
Each piece of art tells a story, if you go into the gallery, knowing what you are looking for, you aren’t doing it right. The artwork should find you, and that is something Odetta provides. An oasis for you to discover yourself and share with others. Go check out Odetta as soon as you can, you will unearth things you never knew possible.