The Williamsburg Art and History (or WAH) Center has made significant contributions to the culture and community of Williamsburg and New York City, but perhaps none more significant than the on-going preservation and restoration of its current home. The landmark building-one of the first to be recognized by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission-dates to the American Civil War and served as an ostentatious home of the Kings County Savings Bank. The founder of the WAH, Yuko Hii, purchased the building in 1996 and has organized a variety of exhibits, events and community programs-more than 350 exhibitions in its twenty-year history.
This used to be a money bank, but now it's an art bank.
What You Will See
Though nominally a neighborhood institution, the Williamsburg Art and History is the focal point of its founder Yuko Hii's Bridge Concept-an effort to create artistic and creative bridges between local, national and international artist. As a result, you are just as likely to see the latest work from a local Brooklyn Artist as you are to see work imported from the Netherlands, Russia, Japan, Latin America or anywhere else in the world. In addition to fine art exhibits (focused on contemporary art), the center hosts a variety of programs, including film screenings and dance performances. Regardless of what brings you there, take time to appreciate one of the great buildings of Brooklyn, from the Mansard roof to the wooden toilet seats.
Why You Should Go
The Kings County Savings Bank is a destination in itself, a miracle of preservation in modern New York and a prime example of the French Second Empire style that entranced city architects during the decades after the civil war. The building is best appreciated by experiencing the galleries, exhibits, and events hosted by the building's conservator (and a renowned artist in her own right) Yuko Hii and the WAH. Watch the calendar closely-the center is generally only open when an exhibition is on display or during other public events. If you only go once a year, target the annual WAH Salon Art Club Show (February) and experience a huge variety of works by local artists.