For the past two and a half years, Littlefield, the performance and art space inside a sustainable building in the Gowanus, has provided an expansive calendar of curated events for the community from craft fairs to art exhibits to independent music shows. offManhattan spoke with co-owner Julie Kim about the space, their cultural calendar and where she frequents when she’s not managing her piece of cultural real estate off the canal in Brooklyn.
oM: How were you attracted to opening up a performance space?
JK: “I was an environmental engineer for ten years. As great a career it was, it wasn’t fulfilling. I had other interests in music and art and I wanted to use my environmental background too. Scott Koshnoodi and I are the co-owners of Littlefield and we wanted it to be a destination in the Gowanus. Despite a tragic history with toxins in the canal and dumping, the community is trying to revitalize it. I saw it as a perfect opportunity for us.”
oM: How do you simultaneously curate culture and filter events so that you’re offering quality programming?
JK: “We have a great booking staff—including Jack “Skippy” McFadden—who is in the industry, established nationally and in the community. We have Sergio Pizzo Barrale, who is our resident artist and co-curator of artwork. The murals on the walls are created by him and he always makes a good point when reviewing submissions that ‘You want to look at something beautiful and ask, is it thought provoking, forward thinking, does it make you ask questions?'”
oM: With a litany of diverse events to schedule and as a local resident of Brooklyn, what do you like to do when you’re not at Littlefield?
JK: “When I do take a break, I love to go out to eat. [Chuckling] I’m always interested in what Brooklyn is doing in the culinary arts. For brunch, I like the Vanderbilt in Prospect Heights—where I live—they have amazing cocktails. Near Littlefield, I go to Buttermilk Channel, where I’ve learned the secret to beating the weekend rush. Doug’s blood orange doughnut is my favorite. And, for coffee I like Blue Marble, they serve New York-based Irving Farm Coffee Company, Sit and Wonder for a cup of Stumptown, and my new favorite, brewing La Colombe, is Glass Shop. I also like to go to things that inspire me. I like the everyday things like Prospect Park, it’s an amazing place and in winter I go there for ice skating. As well, every October A.G.A.S.T. does the Gowanus Open Studios for galleries which I attend.”
oM: Can you speak about the importance of collaboration to the success of an event space like Littlefield?
JK: “We deliberately came into a neighborhood that wanted to be a neighborhood. So, our goals align with the community. We are a work in progress; we’re always trying to work with new people and we want to make local businesses and the people here in the community better. We like to keep our calendar diverse, so working with Overflow magazine and local DJ groups helps us to boost their events and they bring light to our space.”
oM: Why is it important for culture consumers to support local events in the community even though many are on a budget?
JK: “I didn’t get into the nightlife to make money; the decision came down to what makes me happy and eager to work. It was my personal passion for music and art. New York offers quality events for the cheap. Listings like The Skint always have events for under $20 and $10, so even if you are on a budget, New York is a great place to be active and creative all year long.”
Upcoming events at Littlefield include the Brooklyn Craft Central Holiday Market on 12/17, the No Office Holiday Party on 12/15, hosted by Brooklyn Based, The Skint, Fucked in Park Slope, and Brokelyn, and A Very Holiday Hot Tub with Kurt.
How to get there: Take the R train to Union Street and walk two blocks north on 4th Avenue. Turn left onto Degraw Street and walk to the middle of the block. Littlefield is on the south side of the street.
Photos: Anton Brookes, Glass Shop, and Patrick Falle Parault