A BRIC House Bursting with Performance
If the walls of downtown Brooklyn’s Strand Theater could talk, the century-old structure might hold forth about its vaudeville days when Houdini graced its stage, or its turn as a cinema, print shop, and bowling alley. The building might also belie excitement about its current metamorphosis from hidden, underused gem into BRIC Arts|Media House, a dazzling cultural production facility and showcase.
|The old Strand Theater in downtown Brooklyn will be home to BRIC Arts|Media House and open to the public next year. Renderings by Leeser Architecture|
|The following grants are also helping to strengthen and market arts groups:|
- Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, $70,000 to market music classes and the City’s only big-band Latin jazz orchestra.
- Brooklyn Academy of Music, $100,000 for a training program that helps small performing arts groups with fundraising, marketing, communications, IT, production, personnel, and planning.
- Cave Canem Foundation, $34,000 to help this African-American poetry collective increase its earned income by expanding its speakers’ bureau, offering more classes, and renting out its space for events.
- Chocolate Factory Theater, $43,000 to help this developer and presenter of experimental plays and dance create an online performance archive to market its work.
- Flushing Town Hall, $60,000 to increase Korean and Chinese audiences at this Queens theater with the help of a local advisory committee of community leaders.
- Harbor Lights Theater Company, $30,000 to market this Staten Island musical theater group.
- Ping Chong & Company, $70,000 to market this Asian-American theater group celebrating its 40th year.
- Pregones Theater, $70,000 for a merger with the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre Company.
- 651 ARTS, $70,000 to market African-American dance, theater, and literary performances that will mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights movement.
- St. Ann’s Warehouse, $50,000 to market this Brooklyn theater as it relocates.
- TeatroStageFest, $70,000 to support this presenter of Latino theater as it forms an alliance with Queens College’s Kupferberg Center for the Arts.
- Thalia Spanish Theatre, $62,000 for a technology initiative and marketing campaign at this Queens bilingual Latino theater.
- Trisha Brown Dance Company, $70,000 to create a succession plan and digitize 105 video and film recordings to be registered with the Library of Congress and made publicly available.
A $40 million renovation, to be completed next year, will provide current tenants Urban Glass and BRIC Arts|Media|Bklyn
with larger, improved facilities and invite conversations between the public, working artists, and media producers. Large street-level windows will beckon visitors in to watch live tapings of Brooklyn Independent Television and Community Access TV through a new glass-walled studio, and to view rotating contemporary art exhibitions at the relocated Rotunda Art Gallery (currently next to Borough Hall).
Two new theaters in the space will be filled with performances programmed by BRIC, known for its popular Celebrate Brooklyn series in Prospect Park. A two-year grant of $70,000
will help BRIC staff its team to manage the quadrupling of its programs.
“We will transform from being primarily a summer presenter to being a year-round programmer, with a special emphasis on nurturing new works and Brooklyn artists,” says Leslie G. Schultz, BRIC’s executive director. “The two performance spaces in BRIC House will be highly flexible, allowing artists to use them in unexpected and exciting ways. The main performance space can be configured for fully staged productions, standing-room concerts, and intimate cabaret-style performances. The smaller space is designed for development, allowing us to offer Brooklyn artists the opportunity to make and test new work, and to connect with audiences for feedback.”
Because the theaters will be equipped with digital recording equipment, BRIC will easily be able to share performances via cable and webcast, and make recordings available to artists so they can critique, improve, and promote their work.