Culture Forward: A plan for the future of BK Culture
July 06, 2016
60 / Sixty: the number of cultural organizations located in Downtown Brooklyn.
30 / Thirty: the number of cultural organizations that are members of the DBAA - The Downtown Brooklyn Arts Alliance.
50,000 / Fifty thousand: the number of square feet of cultural space in the new 300 Ashland place building now under construction, set to house MoCADA, 651 Arts, a new branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, and BAM Karen (named after Karen Hopkins, President Ermerita of BAM).
30,000 / Thirty thousand: the expected population of Downtown Brooklyn within the next two years, up from 5,000+.
Culture in Downtown Brooklyn is putting up some impressive numbers, much like our booming neighborhood itself. With that, however, comes much concern around maintaining the cultural authenticity that has attracted so many here in the first place.
The plan for culture in Downtown Brooklyn
One major step in the right direction is the release of Culture Forward, a yearlong collaborative effort between the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Alliance to create a roadmap to secure the future of culture in Downtown Brooklyn. Over 100 stakeholders including residents, cultural organizations, government agencies, local business, real estate and other not-for-profit entities were engaged through a series of planning sessions, interviews and other forms of outreach to formulate the ideas that underpin Culture Forward. The plan recommends 13 initiatives ranging from the development of affordable artist studio space to fellowship programs with local colleges and universities.
In this NY Times article about the Culture Forward plan, Karen Hopkins talks about the importance of getting everyone inovlved in the neighborhood on board with this mission so that we all, “speak in one voice and that voice [will] be a voice of art.”
That’s why, while many of the new buildings going up in recent years have incorporated cultural spaces inside their buildings (like the 50,000 sq ft of space at 300 Ashland, mentioned above), there are many more impressive numbers inside the plan to perserve the gritty, authentic nature of Brooklyn culture in underutilized buildings and lots throughout the area. For example:
15,000 / Fifteen thousand: the number of proposed square feet of a Brooklyn Bridge Park administrative office that can be used for visual art studios and performing arts rehearsal spaces.
14,000 / Fourteen thousand: the number of square feet in a vacant lot at 31 Lafayette Avenue that Culture Forward proposes be used as affordable cultural space.