The best businesses in Greenpoint feel not like corporate companies but instead community cultivators. Yaro, the new arts center at 76 Kent Street, is one such small business that offers community via classes, lectures, and events that focus on ceramics, herbalism, and fiber arts. What’s more, the new storefront, per its website, is a minority-owned and women-led business.
Andrea Parikh is the founder of Yaro and signed the lease on the space just before COVID hit. Needless to say, it’s been a wild ride since. What got her through? The Greenpoint community, whom she credits with putting their blood, sweat, and tears into her new brick and mortar that’s now open for business.
Greenpointers: We’re so happy to have Yaro in the neighborhood! It’s been quite the journey getting here: you signed your lease just before COVID. Walk us through what has happened since?
Andrea Parikh: I am not sure where to even start. And so began the seven stages of grief…but seriously, COVID was pretty traumatic but also a great teacher in ways. I am just grateful we came out the other side and for the relationships cultivated through hardship. My relationship with our studio manager (Didi), other local businesses and Greenpoint neighbors wouldn’t be what they are now without that experience. We went through a lot together.
When did you officially open, and why Greenpoint? Do you live in the nabe yourself?
Honestly, I didn’t think Greenpoint was an option for the business, but I’ve lived in the neighborhood for eight years now and things kind of fell into place. The support I’ve received from the community has been immeasurable. I managed the buildout of the studio and with the help of Didi, Izzy our intern, friends, and others in the neighborhood — we logistically and physically built the space together. The studio opened July 5 for ceramic classes and members, but our full multidisciplinary programming launches early fall.
Give us the rundown of what Yaro offers? It seems like a great gathering place for so many different kinds of classes and opportunities!
Yaro is a multi-disciplinary studio that offers ceramic memberships and classes ranging from textiles, natural dyeing, printmaking, lighting, and mycology, among other things.
I’m really excited about the workshops we’ve been developing with our teachers for the fall. This is when things are going to get interesting. We’re always looking for ways to connect with the community and collaborate with people who want to share their knowledge and skills through teaching.
What sets Yaro apart, and where did the name come from?
I am a designer and artist myself who has a lot of varying interests and side projects. Yaro is the amalgamation of that. Our goal is to bring the community together through education and experimentation in making. We advocate for collaboration, not only through varying creative practices but by connecting different disciplines, interests, and cultures. We really believe you build better by building together.
Yaro’s name is a journey within itself. It originated in herbalism (yarrow), took a layover somewhere in the realm of concept furniture (yarō), and landed as a brick and mortar educational community studio in Greenpoint (Yaro).
How have things been going since you opened? What are you looking forward to?
When we finally got the okay to open things had to start moving rather quickly, but we were able to do a lot in a small amount of time and things are coming together. We are really excited to meet our new members and students and be a part of building an amazing community of people.
Anything else you’d like to let us know? Thank you!
We are currently accepting ceramic studio memberships and have one-day wheel throwing class this Saturday from 5 to 7 PM. We’re calling it Saturday Night Throwdown. It’s chill. No experience necessary and BYOB. You can sign up through our website at www.yarostudios.com.