In 2006, artists Jason Goodman, 29, and Jeremy Lovitt, 28, launched 3rd Ward, a multimedia beehive in East Williamsburg with photo and recording studios, a wood and metal shop, a room full of iMacs for video artists, and a gallery. For a modest $300 a month, members “can literally make anything here,” says Goodman. “In one room somebody’s building robots, in another someone’s making furniture, in another someone’s shooting fashion photography.” As businessmen, Goodman and Lovitt are just as freewheeling, branching off into real estate, party promotion, and, soon, a cooking collective. Here, a breakdown of their consortium.
The Metro Building
Goodman and Lovitt are landlords to 50 artists living and working out of a Williamsburg building they personally renovated floor by floor. To fund the project, the partners sold all their marketable possessions—a van, a piano, a table saw—and took as tenants a skateboarding troupe called the Silly Pink Bunnies. “They said there were going to be nine of them,” says Lovitt, “but there were 36.”
The Build NYC
After friends kept asking for help renovating spaces, Goodman-Lovitt launched the Build NYC, a design-oriented construction firm that specializes in commercial interiors. They only take on projects they find “interesting,” like the Bedford Street outpost of the East Village tattoo parlor New York Adorned. Up next: the first New York location for the London-based Tommy Guns hair salon on the Lower East Side.
To discover and promote new talent, the 3rd Ward guys partnered with underground party promoter the Danger, a.k.a. William Etundi, to found Artists Wanted, which hosts open-call art competitions every three months. Every submitted portfolio—the last call generated over 2,000—gets posted on the Website. Winners are fêted with a Manhattan gallery show.
As a way to give artists an extra boost, Goodman and Lovitt help link them up with landlords offering “good, affordable” artist studios that have yet to pop up on Craigslist. Developers contact Goodman and Lovitt directly, who then send out an e-mail blast to the Website’s subscribers. “We want our network of artists to be able to get first dibs,” says Goodman.
To lure potential 3rd Ward members early on, the partners teamed with the Danger to throw lavish, Burning Man–style raves with bands, fire eaters, and paint-can-wielding street artists. For the first year, the income from the parties kept 3rd Ward afloat. Now they’ve built enough capital to open Dubai:Brooklyn, an event space in an enormous factory building around the corner. Recent parties include a “Mirage vs. Illusion” ball that left most of the multilevel space covered in peacock feathers.
3rd Ward Flavor
Goodman and Lovitt are looking for space in either Williamsburg or Chinatown to start a culinary version of 3rd Ward for rising chefs, caterers, and “people doing food start-ups, like cookie companies.” They also plan to hold classes with amateur chefs.