Meet Alison Pirie, Development & Communications Associate

Alison Pirie joined Open House New York as the Development & Communications Associate in April 2022. She comes to OHNY from New York’s arts nonprofit sector, most recently as a Development & Marketing Coordinator at Chashama, where she highlighted and supported the organization’s work providing exhibition space and storefronts to artists and small businesses across NYC. She holds a BFA in Studio Art from Chapman University in her native home of Southern California and is now a practicing artist and curator based in Brooklyn. Outside of OHNY you can find her making bodily sculptures in her railroad apartment, curating a socially-charged multimedia exhibition, or sewing costumes for her pet bunny Boo.

What excites you about joining Open House New York? 

I am excited to join OHNY because it opens up a new world of ways I can engage with and view the city. As someone new to the fields of urbanism and architecture, I am eager to learn about what shapes our city, how it operates, and who it serves—and to use that knowledge to find new ways of increasing equity and access for all New Yorkers. Coming from an arts nonprofit background I am excited to broaden my horizons and take in all the diverse programming and opportunities that make up New York’s civic landscape. 

You come to OHNY with an arts background. How does being an artist shape and inform how you see the city? 

My background as an artist shapes my perspective on everything including how I view art’s capacity for social change. Art to me is the ultimate catalyst for civic engagement and dialogue and the city is the perfect stage for artistic intervention. The projects that I have been a part of that excited me most did not take place in white-walled galleries—but were immersed in the city landscape—both pulling from and pushing the boundaries of their surroundings. Through working at OHNY I hope to continue to expand my thinking about the possibilities for public engagement through art in NYC. 

If you could open up any site for OHNY Weekend, what would it be and why?

This is an admittedly niche desire but I would open feminist artist Louise Bourgeois’ home and studio on West 20th Street, which is now home to her nonprofit the Easton Foundation. Being able to step into her world and flip through archives of the thoughts and sketches that became her powerful body of work would be a dream come true. It also wouldn’t hurt for more people to learn about her work and her impact on modern and contemporary art and the feminist movement. 

I’m an Open House New Yorker because … 

I am curious and excited about the potential of the built environment to facilitate radical social change and civic engagement that includes and benefits all New Yorkers. I believe that everyone deserves equal access to all that the city has to offer and I am thrilled to join forces with a team whose mission is to make that happen.