Rolling Out

The Bishop gallery in Brooklyn is preserving Bed-Stuy’s heritage


The Bishop gallery on Bedford Avenue is an art house committed to reflecting the culture and heritage of the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, N.Y. offering a multimedia space for all artistic disciplines. The Bedford has become a staple of the creative community and it is committed to celebrating Brooklyn’s cultural touchstones. Irwin John, who is also one of the owners of the space, runs the gallery. John explained why he keeps the Bishop connected to the community.

“Being in Brooklyn, in Bed-Stuy, in particular and what’s going on with gentrification in Bed-Stuy, I think it’s important to preserve our culture and our history and [celebrate] some of the essential people that helped lay the groundwork for Brooklyn and Bed-Stuy,” he said. “We want to preserve and honor that.”

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The space was formerly run by former Pratt students Jackie Cantwell and Molly Myer. According to, Cantwell and Myer created it as part of their thesis project before John, the space’s owner, took over. Now, the Bishop is a space for the community’s artistic soul to shine. One of the gallery’s major events was in recognition of the late Notorious B.I.G. The hip-hop superstar helped make his Bed-Stuy neighborhood known worldwide and John is hosting a showing in celebration of the rapper on May 22.

“We wanted to celebrate the late, great Notorious B.I.G.,” John explained. “We’ve got some music and some video footage.”

Celebrating Biggie is part of John’s commitment to reminding a changing Bed-Stuy of its history and the Bishop is a showcase for the artwork inspired by that history. “Every time I listen to a Biggie record or see a video or an image and see people reminisce or see the younger generation recognize it; that’s what I enjoy,” John shared. “Just being able to do something like this and people come out and celebrate it, which gives me gratification.”

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