Manhattan has enough art to feed even the most insatiable arts appetites, but there’s tantalizing art in the outer boroughs, too. Mary-Beth Shine, the founder of SHINE NYC ART, encourages people to stray away from the Museum Mile and Chelsea galleries once in a while and expand their horizons—she will happily lead the way.
SHINE NYC ART gives off-the-beaten-track tours of galleries, studios and art spaces throughout the five boroughs of New York City—from Bushwick to the South Bronx and many places in between.
Arts communities in neighborhoods such as Red Hook, Harlem and Long Island City are diverse and vibrant, but rarely seen by outsiders. “What I do is make art accessible by exposing artists to new audiences, and exposing audiences to artists, art spaces and neighborhoods they wouldn’t normally get to,” says Shine.
Sign up for the next SHINE NYC ART tour of Bushwick and Ridgewood on Sunday, June 3. In the meantime, check out these events and galleries Shine has hand-picked for NYC-ARTS.
“The Fools Journey” at Curious Matter in Jersey City and Proteus Gowanus in Brooklyn explores themes of vision (or delusion), journey and the abyss in between. “This is a beautiful and transcendent show about a very human theme,” says Shine.
It’s the 10th anniversary of Kentler International Drawing Space‘s annual 100 Works on Paper Benefit. “Whether you are a collector, artist, or just an art lover, this benefit is the place to be,” says Shine. Over 100 artists donate works, which are then given away through a lottery to ticket holders.
After a lengthy renovation, SUGAR reopens with “Lineup round 4,” the fourth in a series of group shows that changes the relationships between works by keeping some art from the previous lineup and changing others out. “In the alternative galleryscape of Bushwick, SUGAR stands out as the alternative to the alternative.”
Born out of the infamous Real Estate Show in 1980, ABC No Rio has been the only alternative space that has remained 100 percent true to its beginnings. “The best exhibitions to catch here are the building-wide ones, when the entire place is filled with art,” says Shine. “After 25 years, the Saturday Hardcore/Punk Matinee is still going strong.
The Bronx Museum of the Arts, a gem of a museum located on a landmarked stretch of the Grand Concourse, keeps its sense of place and local culture without compromising the greater appeal of its exhibitions.
Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Projects is run by the children of late philanthropist and gallerist Samuel Dorsky, who are dedicated to presenting contemporary art through the filter of the curator’s eye.
Canada is always current, presenting messy figuration, minimalist grids, over-the-top sculpture made up of fur and dayglo, all tucked away in an office building on Chrystie Street near Canal.
“Williamsburg may have lost its grit, but exhibitions at Pierogi by both emerging and mid-career artists— often working within a framework of surrealism— haven’t.”
The Red Hook bar and restaurant Sunny’s has been owned by the Balzano family since 1890. Exhibitions in the back room are mostly by local artists, including owner Sunny Balzano and his wife Tone Johansen. SHINE NYC ART tours stop by when in the neighborhood for a drink and maybe live bluegrass.
Involved in the early Williamsburg art scene, artist and curator Fred Valentine opened Valentine Gallery in 2011 just across the border from Bushwick in Ridgewood, Queens. “The gallery feels like your living room—comfortable and welcoming,” says Shine.
John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres worked on a series of 3-D murals in the 80s that were installed on the sides of buildings in the South Bronx. “They hold up like a mirror of the times, “says Shine. “The paint has faded and chipped a bit, but not their impact.”

    Proteus Gowanus

    Proteus Gowanus is an interdisciplinary gallery and reading room housed in a former 1900 box factory located centrally among several vibrant Brooklyn communities. Exhibits of art, artifacts and books organized around a yearlong theme are exhibited.

    Kentler International Drawing Space

    Founded in 1990 in the burgeoning arts community of Red Hook, Brooklyn, this gallery, located in what was once a men's haberdashery store, has monthly and bi-monthly exhibitions of drawings and works on paper by New York and international artists.


    By juxtaposing the artwork of one artist with another the gallery creates its own aesthetic, philosophies and theories, focusing on the idea of defining equilibrium or lack thereof. SUGAR is not interested in solo exhibitions, nor focusing on one certain medium. SUGAR is about exploring the nature of art and the artist.

    ABC No Rio

    ABC No Rio mounts seven to ten exhibitions a year at its Rivington Street gallery. Its Saturday Matinee features independent punk and hardcore music artists. Their Sunday afternoon open poetry readings have become a regular gathering, and their Sunday evening series of experimental and improvisational music presents electric, acoustic and jazz.

    Bronx Museum of the Arts

    Works by 20th-century artists from Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as American descendants from those regions, form the basis of the collection. Exhibitions and programs offer Bronx residents the opportunity to learn about themselves and their heritage, history and culture while gaining insight into other cultural groups.

    Dorsky Gallery

    Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs (DGCP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting contemporary visual arts to a broad public audience.


    Pierogi features the work of emerging and mid-career artists in an eclectic range of media—from the conceptual drawings of Mark Lombardi to the multi-media works of Jonathan Schipper, and the dynamic large-scale paintings of Yoon Lee, to the panoramic and filmic drawings of Dawn Clements.

    Valentine Gallery

    This cozy gallery space opened in 2011 with artist Fred Valentine at the helm.