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 in The Proteus Room, our central gallery space.
In adjacent spaces, seven additional projects-in-residence have grown out of our thematic exhibitions and partnerships. These projects share with Proteus a love of books, a wide-ranging intellectual curiosity, and a desire to engage the community in their multifarious investigations.
Like Proteus, the Greek sea god who could change form, Proteus Gowanus is an ever-changing organism. It is located at the edge of the Gowanus Canal, a similarly evolving post-industrial waterfront area with a thriving artistic community and a history dating to the Revolutionary War and before.
Proteus Gowanus seeks to create an alternative, culturally rich environment designed to stimulate the creative process; a place where the boundaries between the artist and non-artist fade, where images and ideas from disparate disciplines are juxtaposed to create new meanings. Through exhibitions, programs and publications, Proteus Gowanus invites artists, writers, workers in other disciplines and community members to participate in open-ended explorations. Proteus Gowanus acts as an interpreter of culture and place, deepening the community’s sense of context and connection.
Proteus Gowanus was founded in 2005 by Sasha Chavchavadze and PK Ramani, with intellectual support from Julie Lang and Suzanne Khuri and financial support from Connie Packard, Caroline Husted, Alexandra Heller and Barbara and Sandy McLanahan. Past core collaborators are Maddy Rosenberg and Leslie Kerby.
Organizations which have and/or continue to collaborate with Proteus Gowanus include: American Friends of Georgia, Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn Museum Libraries and Archives, Cabinet Magazine, Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, The Institute for Figuring, Kentler International Drawing Space, The New Inquiry, Place in History, A Public Space, Ugly Duckling Presse, Underwater NY and Vertical Player Repertory.
Correspondents are invited each year to add their ideas and expertise to our exploration of yearlong themes. Correspondents include: Andrew Beccone and Jeanne Liotta (Libraries), Karen Hewitt (Play), Janice Everett (Mend), David Mahfouda (Transport), Erik Schurink and Mahdu Kaza (Paradise), Carol Becker, Svetlana Boym, Krista Dragomer (Migration).
Individual – Hercules Argyriou, Nicholas DeFriez, Jonathan Weld, Alexandra Walcott
Foundations – Sagalyn Family Foundation, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
The Proteus Gowanus galleries are open during the week for Study Hall, a writers space available to writers, readers, programmers and others in need of a quiet space, a desk and community of focused workers. Our space is also available to rent for special events.
Internships and Volunteers
Proteus Gowanus welcomes the assistance and ideas of interns and volunteers to work with us on operations, exhibitions, special projects and events. Find out about our engaging internship program. Previous and current interns include: Kristen Leonard, Ariel Ruvinsky, Charlotte Murphy, Ada DeFriez, Caridad Bojorquez, Alex Cordovi, Ryan Jones, Allison Klion, Liam Lee, Emily Lenglain, Gabe Liberty, Sophia Karwowski, Jessica McCarrel, Alexander Ramani, Nella Rasic, Sam Sullivan, Marichris Ty, Eve Warnke. Volunteers include: Reuben Cope, Eymund Diegel, Steve Duncan, Charles Goldman, Leslie Kerby, Angela Murphy, Jim Nightlinger, Lado Pochkhua and Sandy Thor. We love them all!