Former bodega thrives as multi-use space

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Art by Hayley Welsh at Specials on C (Photo by Peter Knocke)

Art by Hayley Welsh at Specials on C (Photo by Peter Knocke)

Since it opened about a year ago, bodega-turned-art-space Specials on C has played host to graffiti art shows, secret concerts, educational workshops, painting exhibitions and a pop-up holiday shop. And co-founders Jim Chu and Peter Knocke don’t want to limit it to just that handful of uses; they want the space to be open to whatever anyone else wants to use it for.

“We work with artists, entrepreneurs and creators to help them get around the prohibitive challenges of putting out their work,” Chu said.

Knocke also made a point to say that he and Chu don’t consider themselves the curators of the space.

“We try not to curate anything,” he said. “We want the community to curate it.”

The building, which is located at East 12th Street and Avenue C, is a city-owned property, which makes the rent more affordable than most retail spaces in the area. Knocke and Chu worked this aspect of the building into Specials, and the space gets rented out per event at $300 a day with a minimum of three days.

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