Backstage BOS’12: The Lead Organizers

For the second installment of Backstage BOS’12 , in which the BOS blog gives readers a peek into the inner workings of Bushwick Open Studios, we are entering the eye of the storm: the lead organizers at the very heart of BOS prep.

While Arts in Bushwick is a non-hierarchical, completely volunteer-run organization, a core team of organizers has taken the lead to ensure that Bushwick Open Studios is a success year after year. Lucia Rollow, Julia Sinelnikova, and Richie Alicea are the three “lead” organizers of BOS 2012. They are the primary point-people for all operations, and are responsible for coordinating fellow volunteers who run the website, secure sponsorships, manage press, write the blog, post flyers, plan mixers, and more. Other core organizers include Hannah Mishin, Hanley Ma, Holly Shen Chaves, Tara Ferri, and Trish Fye.

Julia (left, in floral shirt) and Lucia (in the striped dress) welcome registrants with open arms to the first BOS mixer at the Bodega. Photo by Meryl Meisler

We caught up with Richie, Julia, and Lucia ask them a few questions about their roles as lead organizers, and what we can expect from BOS2012.


What is your official and unofficial role in organizing BOS2012?

Lucia: I’m officially co-lead organizing. I’m making sure all the cogs are greased and the wheels are turning and everyone is happy 🙂

Julia: This year I’m focusing on event coordination, making sure that BOS has great programming during the festival that seeks to include the entire Bushwick community. To name a few, we will be having an opening party, a performance art showcase at House of Yes, and a music festival, and possibly a neighborhood-wide artist t-shirt exchange. Also, Jillian Salik and I have been co-curating the official BOS group show, Seeking Space, which seeks to showcase 30+ outstanding area artists who do not have the opportunity to show in studio space.

Richie: While I’m a core organizer, and have a hand in building consensus among the other organizers, participants, and supporters, my main roles have more to do with the technical aspect of running the festival–things like coordinating the use of the data we get when participants register for BOS. In the past, I’ve also coordinated press outreach for AIB.


What are you hoping will be unique about BOS2012?

Richie, out and about in Brooklyn

Richie: This year’s BOS will, no doubt, be the largest yet and that alone will make it unique. But with that will come even more diversity in the art that is shown, which I can’t wait to see.

Julia: Registration just opened and we have about 200 people involved already. I’m anticipating 600 to 1,000 participating artists, which is an exponential growth from previous years (last year we had almost 500 people register, and about 300 the year before). So, sheer mass will make this BOS something much more dynamic!

I’m also looking forward to creating better official BOS programming to help focus the attention of our audience in specific spots, and on artwork they would not otherwise have seen. BOS is going to take over local galleries, artist lofts, businesses, and the streets, drawing a bigger and more diverse crowd than ever before. I’m really hoping we can get area schools and community groups involved in daytime family events as well, to include the broader community! We are hoping for the best, and have sent out a letter to the area schools to see what their interests in this might be. We will be providing BOS volunteers to schools if possible, to help facilitate these community events.

Lucia: We’ve got Hannah assigned to community organizing and I’m hoping that we get a bunch of local non-arts organizations involved in the weekend in some way. I really want to make sure that we’re not just a bunch of “artists” sweeping into the neighborhood and taking over, so we’re really trying to bridge that gap before it develops… we’re putting a huge effort into reaching out to various organizations and involving them on whatever level they would like.

Also, bikes!! Hopefully we’re going to have a bike rental station set up near Morgan.

Lucia in her element: making an announcement to the attendees at Bodega. Photo by Meryl Meisler

What is your day job?

Julia: I’m a painter/sculptor. I’m finishing my Fine Arts degree at FIT. I’m a framer and freelance photo retoucher for my day job.

Richie: I do a few things! First and foremost, I’m a student, working towards my second MA in urban planning (my first one is in political science) and I’ve just wrapped up a research fellowship with a local nonprofit focused on more equitable and progressive transportation policy. Today, I do freelance political consulting and work as a specialist at Apple.

Lucia: From 8:30-3:30 Monday through Friday I walk dogs on the UES/run a dog walking company. From 4-10pm Monday through Friday and during the day on the weekends I run the Bushwick Community Darkroom, a B&W darkroom people can rent by the hour to print or to learn how to print.  I used to take pictures sometimes, and one of these days I will again. I’m thinking, July. But I have other priorities for the moment 🙂


What is your favorite place to eat in Bushwick?

Richie: I love to keep it simple, so I’m always down for the grilled cheese sandwich at Bodega, and it’s usually my go-to. Otherwise, Cafe Ghia is always awesome.

Lucia: Cafe Ghia! They’re right around the corner from my house and I love their flatbreads. That place is just too cute, and I’m a sucker for cute.

Julia: Tandem! Nom nom nom.


Thanks for chatting with us Lucia, Julia, and Richie!

Between coordinating nine BOS “hubs,” dozens of exhibition spaces, and hundreds of artists and volunteers, these core organizers have their work cut out for them.  If you are interested in helping them make BOS 2012 a success, visit the volunteer page or contact volunteer coordinator Hanley Ma ( to get started!


Lili Rusing