[PARK SLOPE] Art of the meal: Park Slope gallery showcases free food

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By Julianne Cuba

Brooklyn Daily

Soup’s on display!

A Park Slope gallery is showcasing community and home-cooked meals during the holiday season. The Open Source Gallery offers free food and a different art display every night in December for its annual Soup Kitchen event, in which a volunteer artist prepares a one-pot meal for about 20 people and displays their art for the night. The event is designed to bring artists and community members together for a meal and robust conversation, said the gallery’s founder.

“I really wanted it to be a space where everybody feels welcome and feels like they are part of it and involved and have something to say,” said Monika Wuhrer, who lives in Park Slope.

Open Source has hosted the open kitchen every December since its founding in 2008. Over the years, the volunteers have presented a wide range of art, including sculptures, videos, music, and comedic sketches — and each one brings something unique to the table, said Wuhrer.

“Everybody can use the space in a different way, and every time you have a different host, you have a very different atmosphere — and I think that’s beautiful,” she said.

The evenings offer space to everyone, including seasoned professionals showing their latest work, amateur artists who want to test something new, or the Girl Scout troupe who cooked for the gallery on Dec. 2. The door is open to anyone who signs up and prepares a meal, said the gallery’s director.

“We wanted this event to make the community feel welcome,” said Shauna Sorensen. “The walls are empty so people are welcome to hang a show however they want. We have a projector to show their film or whatever. It’s totally up to them.”

The annual event draws an audience of regulars, said Sorensen, mostly local residents, friends of artists, and one or two homeless people.

“It’s a lot of community members and residents in the neighborhood who come year after year,” she said. “We do some outreach to homeless shelters and soup kitchens.”

One Park Slope resident who has cooked for the Open Source Soup Kitchen about a dozen times said that the communal nights are a fun way to bring people together for the holidays — whether they come for the food or the art — and that Wuhrer does a great way of making everyone feel welcome.

“She makes it a center for everyone to go and it’s very inclusive,” said Lilly White. “It’s about hanging out, just eating, and talking to people.”

White, a member of the gallery’s board of directors, is a saxophonist, but has also presented some of her video art during previews Soup Kitchen sessions. She plans to cook and present work with a friend on Dec. 18.

A few nights this month are still open for anyone who wants to volunteer.

Soup Kitchen at Open Source Gallery [306 17th St. between Fifth and Sixth avenues in Park Slope, (646) 279–3969, www.open-source-gallery.org]. Daily in December at 7 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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[PARK SLOPE] Art of the meal: Park Slope gallery showcases free food : Brooklyn Daily

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