Daniel Glass President and Founder, Glassnote Entertainment Group
r. Thomas F. Schutte D Chairman of the Board, Brooklyn Arts Council President of Pratt Institute
Ben Lovett GRAMMY Award-winning musician, producer, and entrepreneur
Charlotte A. Cohen Executive Director, Brooklyn Arts Council
Honorable Eric L. Adams Brooklyn Borough President
Introductions & Honorees
Malick Cisse and Ellen Gottlieb Board Members, Brooklyn Arts Council Alive with Art Event Committee Co-Chairs
Niegel Smith Artistic Director, The Flea Theater Suzan-Lori Parks Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and MacArthur Fellow
Performers Batala NYC Rachel Brown The Bones of J.R. Jones
Antonia Yuille Williams Vice-Chair of the Board, Brooklyn Arts Council
Charlotte A. Cohen, Executive Director and Dr. Thomas F. Schutte, Chairman of the Board
elcome to Brooklyn Arts Council’s 50th anniversary celebration! While Brooklyn has undergone sweeping changes, the reason for BAC’s founding endures: to ensure that there are platforms for connectivity among different cultures and people in the public sphere. BAC has been, and will continue to be, a leader supporting artists, training arts professionals, and providing opportunities for people to experience the arts throughout the borough. Charlene Victor founded BACA (as it was then known) with a vision to nurture and promote the arts in Brooklyn’s diverse neighborhoods. She recognized the need for an organization that values creativity and original cultural work that taps into the pulse of the borough’s artists and community arts partners. She formed BAC so that artists can share their artistic skills and practices with the public in myriad ways, from festivals in parks to art-making in classrooms.
BAC expanded its commitment to innovative practices and critical thinking in the 1980s when avant-garde artists, under the direction of Greta Gundersen, performed at BACA Downtown, our downtown Brooklyn space. Performances at BACA Downtown included the play Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom by tonight’s Alive with Art honoree, Suzan-Lori Parks. Works by other extraordinary artists like David Wojnarowicz, Mac Wellman, Allen Frame, Lisa Kron, and David Cale were also presented there. BAC solidified its role as an arts service organization under the leadership of Ella J. Weiss. She strengthened the Council by increasing our capacity-building offerings for artists and grew programs such as Arts in Education and Folk Arts. Today, BAC leads extensive cultural initiatives with partnering organizations and continues to support all art forms throughout the borough. BAC doesn’t favor a single artistic discipline or style. We embrace
cultural differences and intersections; we inspire and foster homegrown originality; we encourage a flavor unique to Brooklyn. Simultaneously, we offer professional development, grants, employment, and training to artists, curators, and arts leaders at all career stages. For example, we help teaching artists and arts professionals develop skills, such as curriculum planning and grant writing, so that they can devote themselves to what is essential: increasing their own capacity, fine-tuning their craft, and sharing their work with others.
BAC’s critical role as a creator of networks is as vitally important as ever. BAC provides opportunities for civic engagement that touch people’s lives and build cultural literacy. We connect, listen, and respond. We initiate conversations that make people more empathetic to each other’s differences, ultimately acting as a democratic force in society. To witness and appreciate an expression of a culture not your own, to experience something unfamiliar, generates new feelings and perceptions, new ways of seeing the world, and new futures to imagine.
This year’s honorees are excellent role models. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and MacArthur Fellow Suzan-Lori Parks was a BACA Downtown community member in the 1980s. As theater director Leah C. Gardiner commented at a symposium on Parks’s work at Hunter College: “How often are we reminded that the old really isn’t old, and that the new is not always new? As in anything rooted in the past, Parks takes her interpretation of what was and assigns a new voice to it.” While Parks’s language has the tonal and linguistic quality of informality and ease, she digs deep into the complex essences of human experience: emotional, historical, and psychological.
As a BAC partner teacher said: “Students involved in the program had experiences that helped them develop socially and emotionally. While learning the craft of vocal training they learned to accept critique, work as a team, and gain interpersonal skills and confidence, which translates to their overall development.” What happens in Brooklyn happens globally. People travel from all over the world to experience art and life in our borough. They participate as artists and audiences and carry their experiences home with them. BAC continues to contribute to the global narrative by engaging with local and international artists and art lovers.
GRAMMY Award-winning musician Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons has made Brooklyn his home. As a contributor to Brooklyn’s creative economy, Lovett is dedicated to the education, promotion, and training of up-and-coming artists through his music publishing and production enterprises, Communion Music and Communion Presents. He embraces the entrepreneurial zeitgeist of Brooklyn today, which draws from the borough’s industrious history. Both Parks and Lovett generously share their successes with younger artists and audiences hungry for ideas and ways of art-making that break from convention. We are honored to celebrate them.
We thank BAC’s staff and board, the incredible leaders whose steadfast commitment will transport BAC into its second half-century. BAC is truly grateful for the support of our funders, collaborators, and friends, and for all who continue to partner with us as audiences. Thank you for sharing the past five decades with us and for helping to shape the next 50 years! All best wishes, Charlotte A. Cohen Dr. Thomas F. Schutte
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Dear Friends, It is a pleasure to send greetings to everyone gathered for Alive with Art, BACâ€™s 50th anniversary gala. We recognize organizations that highlight the importance of preserving and advancing the arts by fostering an appreciation among diverse audiences. In this regard, the many successes of Brooklyn Arts Council are to be acknowledged and applauded. This outstanding multi-arts coalition has become a dynamic community treasure, promoting the understanding of art by facilitating the access to and experience of art in its many forms. You come together this evening to celebrate those who support and further the mission of Brooklyn Arts Council and I join in congratulating your distinguished honorees, Suzan-Lori Parks and Ben Lovett. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I commend Chairman Thomas F. Schutte and the Board of Directors, Executive Director Charlotte A. Cohen, the talented BAC staff, and the many supporters and sponsors who now celebrate this milestone anniversary, with our best wishes for continued success ahead. Warmest regards. Sincerely,
Andrew M. Cuomo Governor
Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl
Dear Friends, On behalf of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, it is an honor to welcome you to Brooklyn Arts Council’s 50th anniversary gala, Alive with Art. Since 1966, Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) has played a pivotal role in strengthening the arts and culture of Brooklyn. BAC deserves enormous credit for nurturing the borough’s world famous creative energy with their visionary approach to supporting local artists and arts groups. Founded in the basement of Flatbush resident Charlene Victor, the Council’s first event was a small film festival in Prospect Park. The organization has grown to support a huge range of creative endeavors through grants, arts in education programs, performances, exhibitions, folk arts programming, and more. The Department of Cultural Affairs could not ask for a better partner in supporting local talent across the dynamic communities that make up our most populous borough. I commend the evening’s honorees, including playwright Suzan-Lori Parks and musician Ben Lovett. I would also like to salute Chairman Thomas F. Schutte and Executive Director Charlotte A. Cohen along with their colleagues and staff for their extraordinary stewardship of Brooklyn Arts Council as it celebrates its golden jubilee and looks forward to the next 50 years. Best wishes for a wonderful evening. Sincerely,
Tom Finkelpearl Commissioner
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams
Dear Dr. Schutte and Ms. Cohen, Brooklyn is the creative capital of New York City, enjoying a renaissance that includes the development of one of the most vibrant art communities in the nation, home to countless artists, and a renowned source for art and design. Therefore, it is most fitting that we recognize those organizations and individuals that demonstrate their commitment to new art and who have played a part in nourishing and expanding the creative heritage of our beloved borough. I am pleased to offer greetings and warm wishes to Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) and all those gathered here for BACâ€™s Alive with Art benefit, in an effort to support artistic and educational excellence in Brooklyn. It is my pleasure to honor BAC, Dr. Schutte, Ms. Cohen, the Board of Directors, and staff for their hard work on behalf of Brooklynâ€™s thriving arts community. Their leadership has helped Brooklyn become home to more artists than any other borough. I join with all of you to celebrate BACâ€™s 50th anniversary as an organization that provides service to the cultural arts in our great borough. The contributions that BAC has given to the advancement of the cultural arts are truly remarkable. On behalf of 2.6 million Brooklynites, I congratulate the Alive with Art honorees and the distinguished individuals who have generously and selflessly supported the noble mission and work of Brooklyn Arts Council. I thank everyone for helping our communities move forward as One Brooklyn. Sincerely, Eric L. Adams Brooklyn Borough President
Mayor Bill de Blasio
Dear Friends, It is a great pleasure to welcome everyone as the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) celebrates its 50th anniversary at Alive with Art. New York City rises on the foundations of its diversity, and we are proud of our incredible cultural landscape that incorporates the artistic customs and traditions of people from around the globe. My administration is determined to provide New Yorkers of all backgrounds with opportunities to participate in our city’s vibrant arts communities and to ensure that they continue to reflect the rich multiculturalism of the five boroughs and their residents. With its mission to connect people to the arts in every neighborhood across Brooklyn, BAC is a leader in this effort. Through its grants programs, affordable arts events, training initiatives for artists and art professionals, and its education programs for our city’s students, the Council helps people across the borough experience the power of art and ensures that Brooklyn maintains its reputation as a cultural epicenter of our city and of the world.
THE CITY OF NEW YORK OFFICE OF THE MAYOR NEW YORK, NY 10007
As BAC celebrates 50 years of steadfast leadership, Chirlane and I applaud all those associated with this organization for everything they have accomplished and for building a more inclusive cultural life for our residents. On behalf of all New Yorkers, we extend our congratulations to tonight’s honorees and our best wishes for a wonderful celebration and continued success. Sincerely,
Bill de Blasio Mayor
Detail of Watertower by BAC Grantee Tom Fruin, 2010. Photo credit Robert Banat Photography.
Suzan-Lori Parks Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and MacArthur Fellow
Photo credit Stephanie Diani
Innovators for the Next New Wave,” in 2002 Suzan-Lori Parks became the first African
American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for her Broadway hit Topdog/Underdog. A MacArthur “Genius” Award and Gish Prize recipient, she has also been awarded grants by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her new play, Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2, & 3) made its world premiere at The Public Theater in New York, followed by a celebrated run at the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) in Cambridge, MA. The play was named a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was awarded the 2015 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, as well as the 2014 Horton Foote Prize. Parks’s work on The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess was honored with the 2012 Tony Award. Her numerous plays include The Book of Grace, In the Blood (2000 Pulitzer Prize finalist), Venus (1996 OBIE
Award), 365 Days/365 Plays, and The Death of The Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World, among others. She’s written a novel, Getting Mother’s Body, published by Random House. Her first feature-length screenplay was Girl 6, written for Spike Lee. She’s also written screenplays for Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster and Oprah Winfrey, adapting Zora Neale Hurston’s classic novel Their Eyes Were Watching God which premiered on ABC’s Oprah Winfrey Presents. Parks is currently writing an adaptation of the film The Harder They Come for a live stage musical. Parks is the Master Writer Chair at The Public Theater, and she also serves as a professor in dramatic writing at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Suzan-Lori Parksâ€™s play, Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom, was presented by BACA Downtown in the 1980s.
GRAMMY Award-winning musician, producer, and entrepreneur
en Lovett is a GRAMMY-Award winning musician who has been living in Brooklyn for four years. Outside of Lovettâ€™s work
with his band, Mumford & Sons, he is a producer, an entrepreneur, and a philanthropist. This year marks the tenth year of Communion, Lovettâ€™s multi-faceted music business entity. Communion promotes shows, releases records, and publishes songwriters. In 2010, Lovett expanded Communion into Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Communion is credited with the emergence and growth of some fantastic Brooklyn artists, including Rubblebucket, Caveman, and hundreds more. While in Brooklyn, Lovett also produced Austin To Boston, an internationally acclaimed documentary capturing the journey of four artists across America in vintage camper vans. Lovett is a partner in Givers and Takers, a neighborhood bar in Gowanus, Brooklyn. He is a board member of Barclays Center and Soho House and a public advocate for Global Citizen, a New York-based organization focused on global poverty relief. Lovett is currently spearheading a project which allows people from any community across the world to submit stories that will be transformed into songs by world-renowned artists.
Communion, Ben Lovettâ€™s music business entity, promotes shows, releases records, publishes songwriters, and supports emerging artists.
Performers Batala NYC Founded by percussionist Stacy Kovacs, Batala NYC is an allwoman Samba-reggae drum ensemble based in Brooklyn. Batala NYC has shared bills with Reggie Watts and Cyndi Lauper and was the featured opener for the Rolling Stones Photo credit Courtesy of the artist
on their 50th Anniversary Tour in Brooklyn and Newark, NJ.
Rachel Brown Wyclef Jean dubbed Rachel Brown’s music “the future of R&B.” Brown’s distinctive songwriting blends elements of her roots (Ethiopian, Bermudian, and Southern) with sounds from a childhood spent listening to soul greats, Motown, and hip-hop. The daughter of fashion designer Amsale Aberra, Rachel Brown’s live performance combines Photo credit Courtesy of the artist
sultry vocal stylings with vintage flair.
The Bones of J.R. Jones Fresh from a national tour supporting G. Love and Special Sauce, The Bones of J.R. Jones performs 21st Century blues and folk with the passion of a teenage punk band. Recently expanded from a one-man band into a full ensemble, The Bones released their sophomore record, Spirit’s Furnace, Photo credit A.J. Mason
just in time for Alive with Art.
Brooklyn Arts Council Programs Brooklyn Arts Council uses a strategic combination of proactive and responsive initiatives to address the needs of Brooklyn artists, cultural organizations, and audiences. By creating and supporting exciting cultural events and activities for Brooklynites, BAC provides forums for critical thinking and self-expression for young people and adults, enriches the landscape, and generates engaging experiences that inspire and expand horizons. Our roster of programs and services includes the following:
Arts in Education
Grants & Services
Currently, BAC brings approximately 300 teaching
BACâ€™s Community Arts Grants program was
artists into 90+ schools, afterschool programs,
established in the early 1980s. With funding
and senior/community centers throughout New
from city, state, and other sources we recently
York City in all arts disciplines, providing close
awarded nearly $350,000 in approximately 140
to 16,000 students, teachers, parents, and seniors
grants to artists and small cultural and community
with hands-on arts instruction and professional
groups. The program offers extraordinary training
arts performances. The participants reflect the
to early career artists in how to secure funding
vast diversity of Brooklyn.
BAC helps artists and arts groups achieve their goals through professional development,
fiscal sponsorship, opportunities announcements,
Brooklyn is home to a wide range of artists from across the globe. We preserve and present the cultural traditions of these immigrant-based
project promotion and marketing assistance, networking opportunities, referrals, and extensive one-on-one assistance.
communities through thematic, research-based public programming initiatives in music, dance, visual, and material arts.
Creative Coalitions is a unique community and
BAC works with public agencies, real estate
economic development initiative designed
projects, and community groups to place art
to build arts infrastructure. By combining
in new spaces and launch new endeavors, such
community organizing and technical assistance,
as public art commissions and cultural tourism
this program provides artists and arts groups
initiatives that promote visibility and income for
mentorship, and assistance in presenting public events that bring high-quality arts programming to underserved communities. BAC has worked in East Bushwick, Brownsville, and East New York/ Cypress Hills and intends to expand this model program to other parts of Brooklyn.
Online Artist Registry and Directory of Brooklyn Arts Organizations These web-based databases provide a platform for over 7,200 Brooklyn-based artists and over 800 cultural groups to promote and present their work, to connect with new opportunities, and to earn income through their creative endeavors.
Services to Artists BAC helps artists and arts groups achieve their goals through professional development, fiscal sponsorship, opportunities announcements, project promotion and marketing assistance, networking opportunities, referrals, and one-onone assistance.
50 Years Of BAC
50. 50. 50. 50. 50. 50. 50. 50. 50.
50. 50. 50. 50. 50. 50. 50. 50. 50.
50. 50. 50. 50. 50. 50. 50. 50. 50.
Cheers to 50 Years! 23
50. 50. 50. 50. 50. 50. 50. 50. 50.
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Congratulations to the
Brooklyn Arts Council th
50 Anniversary -------------------Congratulations to the Honorees:
Suzan-Lori Parks 2002 Pulitzer Prize Winning Playwright
and Ben Lovett Grammy Award-Winning Band Mumford & Sons -------------------Michele Arbeeny, Partner email@example.com (212) 237-1024
New York, NY
New Brunswick, NJ
wishes to thank
Brooklyn Arts Council for your tireless efforts, commitment and tremendous support of Brooklyn's diverse cultural community for the past 50 years! ~ and ~
Suzan-Lori Parks and Ben Lovett for your devotion to and promotion of Brooklyn's adventuresome artistic spirit throughout your esteemed careers.
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Congratulations, Brooklyn Arts Council! HAPPY 50TH ANNIVERSARY! Pam Brier & Peter Aschkenasy
Jack Esterson A.I.A. and Hon. Richard J. Montelione congratulate BAC on its
50TH ANNIVERSARY and Suzan-Lori Parks & Ben Lovett on their achievements and contributions to Brooklynâ€™s cultural landscape.
Congratulations to SUZAN-LORI PARKS as she is honored by the Brooklyn Arts Council on the occasion of their 50th Anniversary Gala May 3, 2016 Lionel AndrĂŠs Messi
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Happy 50th Anniversary to Brooklyn Arts Council!
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BAC Board Of Directors
Alive With Art Event Committee
Honorary Chairman Honorable Eric L. Adams Brooklyn Borough President
Ellen Gottlieb, Co-Chair Malick Cisse, Co-Chair
Chairman Dr. Thomas F. Schutte
Michele Arbeeny, Esq. Julia Chu
Vice Chairs Peter Aschkenasy Antonia Yuille Williams
Jack Esterson, A.I.A. Alan Ket Theresa Schieber Jennifer L. Smith
Treasurer Frazier Holloway
Antonia Yuille Williams
Secretary Michael A. Armstrong Audrey Frank Anastasi Michele Arbeeny, Esq. Julia Chu Malick Cisse Jennifer L. Davis Jack Esterson, A.I.A. Ellen Gottlieb Sidney R. Jean, Esq. Alan Ket Dan Marks Theresa Schieber Jennifer L. Smith Valerie D. White Directors Emeriti Theodore Gunn Susan Rowland
BAC Staff Charlotte A. Cohen Executive Director
Robert Lucas Development Director
Philip Alexander, Ph.D. Arts in Education Director
Christopher MulĂŠ Folk Arts Director
Eric Bernal Arts in Education Intern
Azure Osborne-Lee Grants Coordinator
Maureen Chung Communications Coordinator
Stephanie Skaff Arts in Education Coordinator
Susan Dunbar Development Assistant
Jasmine D. Wagner Marketing and Communications Manager
Melissa Estro Fiscal Associate
Courtney J. Wendroff Operations and Visual Arts Director
Katy Finn Arts in Education Manager Thomas Fordham Finance Director Diego Foronda Development Assistant Karina Krainchich Arts in Education Coordinator Farrah Lafontant Community Initiative Associate Morgan Lindsey Tachco Grants and Services Director
Major corporate, foundation, and in-kind support is provided by: Altman Foundation Booth Ferris Foundation Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Community Foundation
Brooklyn Arts Councilâ€™s programs are made possible, in part, with public funds from:
CME Group Community Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
Howard Gilman Foundation
New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council New York Council on the Humanities
ConEdison Henry Nias Foundation Investors Bank JPMorgan Chase Foundation Lily Auchincloss Foundation MetroPlus Health Plan Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation M&T Bank Rose M. Badgeley Residuary Charitable Trust Sixpoint Brewery TD Charitable Foundation
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation New York State Assembly Members James Brennan, William Colton, Jo Anne Simon, Helene Weinstein New York City Department of Youth and Community Development
The Bay and Paul Foundations The H.W. Wilson Foundation The New York Community Trust The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation The Scherman Foundation Tiger Baron Foundation Two Trees Management Co., LLC Waterfront Wines Whole Foods
New York City Department for the Aging New York City Council Members Robert Cornegy, Laurie Cumbo, Chaim Deutsch, Rafael Espinal, Mathieu Eugene, Vincent J. Gentile, David Greenfield, Brad Lander, Stephen Levin, Alan Maisel, Darlene Mealy, Carlos Menchaca, Antonio Reynoso, Mark Treyger, and Jumaane D. Williams Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams
Major individual supporters are: Michele Arbeeny, Esq. Pamela Brier and Peter Aschkenasy Julia Chu Ellen Gottlieb Nadia and Achilles Perry Dr. Thomas F. Schutte Additional support comes from Blankslate and Materials for the Arts.
gratitude and a special thank you to Mumford & Sons, Florence & The Machine,
Barclays Center, Bonaroo Music Festival, Capitol Records, Forest Hills Stadium, Brooklyn Brewery, Malick Cisse, Robyn Feldman, Ibrahim Maqbool, Dan Erickson, Susan Rowland and the RowlandS i f to n Fa m i l y, To m Fr u i n, Ro b e r t Ba n a t Photography, William Cohen, Wendy Feuer, Betti-Sue Hertz, Robert Hickman, Ivor Noyek, Etienne B&B
Photo credit Kotchegna Dance Company.
Art direction and design for the BAC's 50th Anniversary Program (May 2016)