ANNOUNCEMENT: BRIC House Set to Open October 3
BRIC ARTS | MEDIA HOUSE, MULTI-DISCIPLINARY COMPLEX IN DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN, SET TO OPEN ON OCTOBER 3
Three Days of Free Programs Celebrate Opening of New $35 Million, 40,000 Sq. Ft. Home for Artists and Brooklyn’s Diverse Community
BRIC Arts | Media House (BRIC House), a multi-disciplinary arts and media complex in the former Strand Theatre at 647 Fulton Street, is set to open on October 3. The project, which also includes a renovated home for UrbanGlass, will expand BRIC’s current 19,000-square-foot space to 40,000-square-feet, and will bring BRIC’s contemporary art, performing arts and community media programs under one roof for the first time since the organization’s founding in 1979. (BRIC’s Celebrate Brooklyn! Performing Arts Festival will continue to take place at the Prospect Park Bandshell.) Three full days (Oct 3–5) of free community programs will celebrate the opening of BRIC House. Activities include a block party, a concert by roots reggae icon Burning Spear, the opening of a major art exhibition featuring 13 Brooklyn visual artists, and live tapings of a new daily television show, plus free music performances and art activities for families. Please see below for a partial schedule.
BRIC House architect Thomas Leeser has transformed the historic 1919 Strand Theatre into a state-of-the-art home for BRIC, the driving force behind a number of Brooklyn’s most widely renowned and beloved arts and media programs. The renovation has reclaimed 20,000 square feet of additional public space, has created a street-level presence and the full integration of BRIC’s visual arts, performing arts, and media programs. BRIC House will include a 3,000-square foot contemporary art gallery, a 240-400 capacity flexible performance space, a glass-walled television studio fully visible to the public lobby, an artist work/performance studio, a public lobby with a café and full state-of-the-art media broadcasting center. The facilities will serve as a home for artists and audiences – a place where emerging and established artists can create work that deepens their practice and engages the diverse communities of Brooklyn.
“The renovation of the historic Strand Theatre creates wonderful new spaces for two of Brooklyn’s most unique cultural organizations. BRIC’s remarkable multi-disciplinary art and media programs and UrbanGlass’ unparalleled glass working facilities and exhibitions provide an extraordinary range of cultural services to artists and audiences from Brooklyn and beyond,” said New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin. “The City’s support for this reconstruction project creates another exciting destination in the Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District.”
Leslie G. Schultz, President of BRIC, said: “Since 1979, BRIC has used many wonderful spaces in Brooklyn to present artistically excellent and highly accessible programming. The essence of this building’s design – an inviting public cultural space and a welcoming home for artists in Brooklyn – is entirely consistent with, and indeed was inspired by, the mission of our organization to serve artists and the public in a welcoming and informal environment.”
Architect Thomas Leeser said: “Our goal was to open BRIC Arts | Media House to the surrounding city and to create an environment of total transparency. The gallery, TV studio and performance space are literally brought out to the street and the city is brought into new space through the invention of the Urban Lobby, connecting the public to the institution while creating a strong identity for BRIC. We are proud to have enabled BRIC the public visibility it deserves.”
BRIC House will allow the BRIC to expand its performing arts, contemporary art, community media and educational programming; deepen its support for emerging artists, many of them living and working in Brooklyn; and enrich the lives of nearly one million people each year. Programming will include:
- BRIC House Fireworks Residency – Funded by The Rockefeller Foundation’s Cultural Innovation Fund, this new signature residency program will facilitate large-scale inter-disciplinary projects among teams of artists. The first residency team is composed of theater designer and director Julian Crouch (Shockheaded Peter), musician and composer Mark Stewart (Bang on a Can All Stars) and filmmaker Ragnar Freidank.
- Resident Company: A multi-year, six-week annual residency for Ronald K. Brown’s Evidence: A Dance Company, presented with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Building Demand for the Arts program, engaging local residents through dance lessons and performance.
- A year-round program of exhibitions in the main Gallery and Project Room with continued emphasis on representation of Brooklyn’s visual arts community.
- BRIClab, an incubator program for artists who are developing new work that gives them technical support,a stipend and free access to workspace, with a culminating showing of a work-in-progress and moderated discussion to open their process to Brooklyn audiences
- BRIC House Parties, a new, monthly series of all-ages programming culminating in a live DJ and dance party at night.
- The Stoop Series; free, drop-in programming including film screenings, storytelling, poetry, artist talks, lectures and family activities.
- Town hall meetings and cultural programming cablecast live to over 500,000 Brooklyn households.
With the opening of its new home, BRIC will launch a new membership program with benefits for members, whose contributions will help to subsidize BRIC’s free programs. Membership starts at $50 for individuals. Because BRIC House is intended to be highly accessible, BRIC membership includes a level of membership that is free – BRIC Housemates receive a benefits including a member card, early notice of on-sale dates, and discounts from BRIC. Details at BRICartsmedia.org/membership
About BRIC Arts | Media House
BRIC House will serve as a true home for artists and audiences—a place where emerging and established artists can create work that deepens their practice and engages the diverse communities of Brooklyn. Its physical design around a central public space will encourage audiences’ engagement among and exposure to all disciplines. New spaces will include:
- A flexible Performance Space (240 seated to 400 standing capacity) to be known as the BRIC House Ballroom equipped with a sprung floor for dance and flexible seating to accommodate a wide variety of configurations and performance styles. An entirely new professional resource for the performing arts in Brooklyn, the Ballroom will also feature dressing rooms, a green room for artists and state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment –supporting high-quality production values.
- An intimate, flexible Artist Studio dedicated to emerging and mid-career artists, with an audience capacity of 75 for rehearsals and performances in workshop settings. This space will also transform into a workspace for visual artists.
- A 3,000-square-foot Gallery with soaring 18-foot ceilings permitting major exhibitions and focused on emerging and mid-career artists and curators. A Project Room adjacent to the gallery will be an added resource for video work, BRIC's emerging curator program, small-scale exhibitions and experimental curatorial projects.
- A state-of-the-art public access television center that will include a new glass-walled studio and control room on the ground floor of the facility (fully visible to the public), as well as fully renovated and upgraded studios, editing suites, public equipment and media training lab on the second floor.
- The Stoop, an all-new public cultural gathering space, featuring free, drop-in programming for all ages.
- A café from Hungry Ghost, a Brooklyn-based coffee bar and café.
- Classroom space to expand BRIC’s media education program.
- All programming spaces, as well as the lobby, will be fully wired to the master control room to support live cablecasts of select events to over 500,000 Brooklyn households and beyond on the web.
- BRIC House is open every day, with regular facility hours from 8am–10pm.
Schedule of Free Community Programs, October 3–5
Gallery Exhibition, Opening October 3
Housewarming: Notions of Home from the Center of the Universe
October 3–December 15, Tuesday – Sunday, 10am–8pm
Housewarming: Notions of Home from the Center of the Universe is a celebratory show that introduces the public to BRIC’s new exhibition space while exploring the concept of “home” from broad vantage points. The exhibition will feature the work of Brooklyn-based artists working in varying media. Several of the works in the show have been commissioned especially for BRIC House. Participating artists include Njideka Akunyili, Sonya Blesofsky, Margaret Reid Boyer, Drew Hamilton, Katarina Jerinic and Chad Stayrook, Esperanza Mayobre, Garry Nichols, Keisha Scarville, Vargas-Suarez Universal and Nathan Wasserbauer.
Live Television Show Tapings
Thursday, October 3 and Friday, October 4
In October, BRIC’s Brooklyn Independent Media unit will launch a new, daily television show covering Brooklyn news, people and issues, to be cablecast to 500,000 cable-subscribing households. The show will originate from BRIC House; visitors can see the show taped daily in the first-floor television studio.
Armchair Parade, Opening October 3
Julian Crouch/Mark Stewart/Ragnar Freidank
October 3 – 13, 10am–10pm
Theater designer and director Julian Crouch (The Addams Family, Shockheaded Peter and Phillip Glass’ Sataygraha), musician and composer Mark Stewart (Bang on a Can All-Stars, music director for Paul Simon), and filmmaker Ragnar Freidank (The Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn), team up to create an unforgettable installation in the Artists Studio at BRIC House. Featuring a 30-foot handmade musical instrument, original film, sound, and puppets, the project is reflective of Brooklyn, which is home to all three artists.
Burning Spear / OneBeat
Thursday October 3 at 7:00pm
Two-time Celebrate Brooklyn! alum, and of the most influential Jamaican roots reggae artists of all time, Burning Spear (aka Winston Rodney) is part Rastafarian preacher and part Black historian. His music celebrates his belief that all men and women deserve equal and just rights, treatment and respect, and he shares his beliefs with an avid and diverse audience. The evening will open with OneBeat – an initiative of the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and produced by Bang on a Can's Found Sound Nation, that brings musicians from all over the world together to collaborate, perform and engage with American communities. This event will be free.
BRIC House Open House & Block Party
Saturday, October 5, 2pm – 10pm
BRIC will celebrate the opening of the new facility with a free, all-ages block party featuring music, food trucks and family activities.
Natural Expressions Rhythm Band
The Brooklyn Jumbies
Saturday, October 5, 2pm – 5 pm
Natural Expression Rhythm Band, a local pan-Caribbean collective comprised of more than 25 percussionists, has been storming Brooklyn street festivals, parades, fetes, and outdoor dance parties since 2007. Playing on everything from cowbells to old car parts, the group is known as one of the best “Engine Rooms” – the traditional percussion backbone of steel band and Calypso music—in town. A traditional symbol of African and Caribbean carnivals, the Moko Jumbie, as performed by The Brooklyn Jumbies, is a spirit on stilts. “Moko” is derived from the name of an African deity and “Jumbie” means ghost or spirit.
Revive Big Band
Saturday, October 5 at 7:30pm
The Revive Big Band unites generations of like-minded musicians in presenting a new era of music. Formed in 2010 by composer, arranger, and trumpeter Igmar Thomas, the group is comprised on many Brooklynites whose musical styles, experience, and tastes range widely, but their universal mission is to carry on the tradition of big bands, with music that is relevant today. At BRIC House they will focus on interpreting Brooklyn Jazz History featuring [special guest TBD] in a tribute to Brooklyn trumpet great Freddie Hubbard. Before the performance, BRIC will host a free community meal to welcome neighbors into the space. This event will be free.
Support for BRIC House
Generous public funding for BRIC Arts | Media House and the UrbanGlass reNEWal Project has been provided by The City of New York, through the Office of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn; Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz; The Brooklyn Delegation of the New York City Council; Kate D. Levin, Commissioner, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; and the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
The construction of BRIC House is also supported by the New York State Senate, the New York State Assembly, and the New York State Council on the Arts.
BRIC also acknowledges the following additional supporters of BRIC House and the Campaign for BRIC House: Booth Ferris Foundation, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Goldman Sachs, Laurence W. Levine Foundation, National Grid, The Rockefeller Foundation Cultural Innovation Fund, The New York Community Trust, The Wallace Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation, and Verizon, Cablevision, and Time Warner Cable, as well as numerous individuals.
In the 35 years since its founding as a not-for-profit organization in 1979, BRIC has been the driving force behind a number of Brooklyn’s most widely renowned and beloved arts and media programs. In the borough that is now this country’s foremost creative hotbed, BRIC is unparalleled in its combination of artistic excellence, programmatic breadth and genuine accessibility.
BRIC presents live music and performing arts (the Celebrate Brooklyn! Performing Arts Festival and BRIClab), contemporary art exhibitions and programs (until 2013 at BRIC Rotunda Gallery and throughout the borough), and community media programs (Brooklyn Free Speech TV, Brooklyn Independent Television, and Brooklyn Bulletin Board) that reflect Brooklyn’s creativity and diversity.
Emphasizing creative expression as varied and groundbreaking as the borough it serves, BRIC provides opportunities and platforms for Brooklyn artists and media makers to create and present new works. The organization champions the creativity of Brooklyn and work that expands the boundaries of artistic disciplines. BRIC’s highly accessible exhibitions, performances, television programs and educational programs serve more than one million Brooklyn residents, including some 4,000 school children, each year.
Learn more at BRICartsmedia.org.
Press contact: Blake Zidell or John Wyszniewski at Blake Zidell & Associates: 718.643.9052, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.