Greenpoint’s Pencil Factory (61 Greenpoint Avenue) is now home to a new art studio, open to kids, teens, and adults alike. We spoke with studio founder Ben Margherita to find out more about his new business.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your connection to the neighborhood.
I moved to Williamsburg about 12 years ago from Manhattan and just fell in love with the area. My favorite evening walk would be to Greenpoint and back along Kent Ave. Both neighborhoods have really changed so much and watching the evolution has truly been remarkable. I still love discovering all the new shops, bars, and restaurants.
What was the process of opening a new business like? How did you come across the space?
After years of working as a Creative Director, I was dreaming of opening a teaching art studio. I have been moderating a weekly figure drawing class on the East End and I realized the more time I spent in a studio with artists, the happier I am. Obviously, Covid put everything on hold, but it gave me a lot of time to plan. I spent much time looking at spaces in Williamsburg and Bushwick, but nothing seemed right. Recently, my partner and I were having brunch at Sereneco and I spotted the ‘For Rent’ sign in the Pencilworks Factory. I made an appointment to see the space and instantly knew it was the perfect fit. The building is so unique and it’s filled with artists, musicians and small businesses.
What kinds of classes and activities can the neighborhood expect from the studio?
We have a great mix of after-school classes, from painting and drawing to printmaking, and even fashion illustration with Project Runway alumni, Kovid Kapoor! We will also be offering holiday camps for kids with exciting projects to stimulate all the burgeoning Picassos. For adults, we offer fluid painting (pour over method) that’s BYOB. The class is such a blast and you really don’t need any artistic skill at all. The results are always spectacular (even if you have a pinot grigio buzz). More class offerings will go online in the coming weeks.
Anything else you’d like to share?
We also offer the studio for private events and parties. You can easily find all the information at our website at art101bk.com.