The Beard and Robinson Stores were built by Jeremiah P. Robinson and William Beard in the 1860’s and 70’s and were eventually founded in 1872 during a surge in dockside warehousing after the Civil War. The Beard and Robinson Stores were part of a complex of grain terminals, warehouses, wharfs and shipyards constructed by Beard to accommodate goods and materials bound for New York Harbor via the Great Lakes and the Erie Canal.
The Beard and Robinson Stores retain much of its historic character, with 250 restored arched iron shutters and the retention of the original beams and massive supporting timbers. Coffee and cocoa beans can still be found in the cracks of the original floorboards.
The Hot Wood Arts Center is a 7,000-square-foot space inside the Beard Street building. It contains 16 artist work spaces, a shared work area with tools and other equipment, an art gallery, and a stage for performances.
Hot Wood Arts offers one-year leases which are granted to 15 artist tenants, who are known as the facility’s “residents.” In addition to 24 hour access to their work spaces, a number of other benefits enjoyed by the artists include free wi-fi, electricity, use of common areas and tools, permanent links to their personal websites from the Hot Wood Arts website, and constant exposure to viewers.
Part of the O’Connell vision is to foster the community of Red Hook, Brooklyn and to encourage the presence of the thriving Brooklyn art community.
Hot Wood Arts can be explored at their website- hotwoodarts.com.