Warehouse Gallery Tells All

Get to know the couple behind Brooklyn’s artsy hotspot

If you think you’re cool, try spending an hour with Lesley and Kamau Ware.

The husband/wife team behind Brooklyn’s new art gallery, Warehouse (tucked inside a vintage shop in Bed-Stuy), is almost too hip to be true. Between posing for street style snaps, signing book deals, and hosting walking tours, the pair found time to open a studio. It feels more like a cozy apartment than a showroom for high-quality fine art — and it’s a dream for first-time art buyers, exhibiting various media (installations to photography) at approachable price points (nothing tops $500).

Get the scoop on the art, the inspiration, and what’s next straight from the borough’s most interesting duo.


What led you to launch the gallery together?
We have always been inspired by art and creativity — we met in a downtown Pittsburgh gallery in 2004. Kamau was running the gallery and sold me my first piece of original art. Fast-forward nine years and we’re married and sharing an art studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Opening a gallery in our new home of Bed-Stuy to share and collaborate felt like the next step in the development of our creative life together.

What is the best part about collaborating?
Getting to spend time together during the day is fantastic. There’s no reason to ask each other over dinner, “How was work?” We work hard, but it’s nice to have day dates like grabbing a movie and a lunch before 5 p.m.

warehouse gallery!

You both wear many hats in addition to being gallery owners. What else do you have up your sleeves?
I just finished writing a book titled Sew Fab, which gives girls the inside scoop on sewing, fashion, and style. I also teach several fun fashion courses from our studio in Red Hook and at a high school in the Bronx.

K: I just finished a documentary called Rethinking Power, which chronicles the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts coordinated by the Red Hook Initiative. My friend Adrian Franks and I just released a digital book in iTunes called the Fearless Mixtape. And I’m relaunching the Black Gotham Experience, which is a walking tour and digital graphic novel series that traces the impact of the black diaspora on New York City.

Tell us about the fun happenings you’re hosting at the gallery?
We have two signature events — the Instagram Artist Talk/Photo Walk and our version of a Drink & Draw. For the former, we represent and showcase Instagram photographers and also want to highlight the beauty of Bed-Stuy, so we get people out into the neighborhood to get a taste of local offerings while creating mobile art and learning from our artists. Check out our hashtag #collophotowalk to see what we shot on the first walk in December. Our Drink & Draw is led by an artist who is accompanied by a musician and a model. We invite anyone to test out his/her artistic skills while vibing off the music.

Which pieces in the current exhibition are you most excited about?
L: Artists Monique Luck and Mike Sorgatz are inspiring me the most right now, because I love their use of color, texture, and layering. When I look at them, I’m instantly energized — it’s amazing that art can do that, right?!

K: Ethan Rosenduft’s Sundown on the Stuy resonates because it was a piece the gallery commissioned based on seeing his other work. Paul Rosenblatt’s architectural drawings make me smile, because he used to design exhibitions for another gallery I ran in Pittsburgh. Finally, I am a big fan of the Instagram gallery, because it’s different and acknowledges everyday art. It’s cool getting an Instagram pic signed, matted, and framed.

warehouse gallery!

How do you choose artists/pieces to showcase?
We are plugged into our studio network in Red Hook. We also have relationships from our involvement in the arts in Pittsburgh. Lastly (believe it or not), we found a small group of talented voices through Craigslist.

What do we have to look forward to in the near future?
We’re producing an exhibition called Suits, which will open the day before New York Fashion Week, on February 5, which will explore the varied meanings of the word with an emphasis on style. We are having an open call for two upcoming exhibitions: Bed Stuy Story (an ongoing project that is a community-sourced photography archive of the neighborhood) and Sequence (a comics-based exhibition). Lesley is also designing a line of thoughtful handmade accessories — such as bow ties, aprons that double as dresses, and camera straps — which will be sold exclusively at the gallery starting in February.

Warehouse Gallery & Studio, 1070 Bedford Avenue, between Clifton Place and Greene Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant (917-741-4490 or warehouse-gallery.com).

Photos: Stephania Stanley for DailyCandy

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1070 Bedford Ave
bt Clifton Pl & Greene Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11216