Behind a rickety wooden door, next to an empty lot on tiny Melrose Street, lives one of Brooklyn’s best-kept secrets. It’s called Secret Project Robot — a gallery, art studio and practice space that’s become one of the borough’s creative strongholds.
The two-story space contains everything an artist or musician could want. A gallery in front is frequently filled with visiting artists and performers holding events and one-off shows, eager to showcase their skills and workshop new projects. In back, there are seven studios and shared supplies for visual artists like Raul De Nieves and Chris Uphues. There’s ample practice space for experimental bands like Oneida. And then there’s the beautiful adjacent sculpture garden-cum-bar, where artists and their friends can collaborate and catch up, or drink a beer and relax.
It’s all a part of the Secret Project Robot master plan.
SPR’s mission is to “compel visitors to explore art while also creating a space for them to interact and have a conversation. The idea is that art should be a platform for a continuous dialogue and a gallery should be a place that promotes this in a fun, new and interesting way.”
“Everyone involved is an artist and a musician, and it really is an artist-run art space,” explains Eric Zajaceskowski, one of the space’s founding members. “People get influenced and inspired by each other.”
Because ultimately, an arts space is nothing more than the sum of its parts, the contributions of its members. “How do you build community?” asks Zajaceskowski, rhetorically. “By participating. And by allowing other people to participate.”