This week, NYSCA grantees look toward the future, with a new museum, culture plan, virtual reality exhibit, and more.
Ground broken for children’s museum on Buffalo’s waterfront
“A new children’s museum is one step closer to opening on Buffalo’s waterfront. A groundbreaking ceremony for the $27 million Explore & More Children’s Museum was held on Wednesday. The 43,000-square-foot museum is expected to open in the area known as Canalside late next year. Planners project it will attract 250,000 visitors each year. The new four-story Children’s Museum will feature seven Buffalo-themed educational play zones. Plans call for retail space on the first level, a two-story atrium space with a water exhibit on the second floor, other exhibits on the third floor and a rooftop terrace with a view of the city and the Buffalo River. The museum is currently located in East Aurora.” NYSCA supports Explore & More through our Museum, Regional Economic Development Council, and Folk Arts Programs.
Staten Island ‘culture plan’ outlines ways to improve the borough’s North Shore
“In a recent community forum, Staten Island Arts along with the Design Trust for Public Space outlined strategies for ways in which to revitalize, improve sustainability, and boost economic development within the rapidly changing North Shore (Staten Island’s waterfront). The meeting kicked off the first of a series of feedback sessions as part of the Future Culture: Connecting Staten Island’s Waterfront project. Residents already have many ideas on how to improve their community, but ultimately, the agenda for Future Culture is to foster local culture by cultivating quality public spaces that will promote creativity, diversity, enhance along the waterfront area as well as nearby neighborhoods.” Initial ideas include “Form a North Shore Cultural Station, a cultural committee, an investment fund, and a fellowship program; Determine sites, resources, and sponsors for large festivals, events, performances, ongoing programming series, and educational programming that prioritize collaboration with immigrant- and heritage-based organizations and groups; Create a map of local cultural assets and wayfinding strategies to encourage local exploration beyond the ferry terminal and connecting public- and privately-owned sites to routes of discovery; Create enhanced, connected, high-performance green spaces that promote urban ecological diversity, foster resiliency, and safeguard direct access to the water’s edge; among many others.” NYSCA supports Staten Island Arts through our State & Local Partnership, Regional Economic Development Council, Folk Arts, and Arts Education Programs.
David Byrne to feature at BRIC’s inaugural Free Arts Festival
“Keeping its promise to present innovative content to Brooklynites, the company recently announced that it would be hosting its inaugural BRIC OPEN Festival, a weekend-long series of events featuring dance classes, groundbreaking community discussions and interactive performances. The festival will take place from April 27 to April 30 in BRIC’s Fort Greene headquarters at 647 Fulton St. next to the BAM Harvey Theater. The festival will ‘illuminate the power of inclusive, participatory arts and media,’ while also ‘testing ideas about the creation and consumption of culture,’ according to the BRIC website. The opening event will feature a talk from co-founder of the Talking Heads David Byrne called ‘Reasons to be Cheerful.’” Additional events include a #BHeard Town Hall called ‘The People, The Press and The President’ presented in partnership with Columbia Journalism Review; a ‘Dance = Freedom’ series, offering free dance classes for all ages and abilities in collaboration with Ronald K. Brown/Evidence with Annique Roberts, Ballez with Katy Pyle and Jules Skloot, Urban Bush Women and Arielle Rosales; and ‘Beyond Sacred,’ an interview-based theatre production exploring the diverse experiences of Muslim Americans. NYSCA supports BRIC through our State & Local Partnership, Regional Economic Development Council, Presenting, Individual Artists, and Electronic Media & Film Programs.
Ai Weiwei’s provocative ‘Fences’ artwork coming to Downtown Brooklyn
“Artwork on the theme of fences, by renowned Chinese artist/political activist Ai Weiwei, will be installed at numerous sites across three boroughs this coming fall — including atop bus shelters in Downtown Brooklyn. On Oct. 12, Weiwei’s exhibition ‘Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,’ commissioned by the Public Art Fund to celebrate its 40th anniversary, will capture the world’s attention with roughly ten major large, stand-alone installations and dozens of smaller “interventions.” The exhibition, running four months, will contain about 100 pieces, according to a Public Art Fund spokesperson. Weiwei’s site-specific work, in the form of metal wire security fences, is inspired by the international migration crisis and rise in nationalism, and is particularly significant considering the Trump administration’s plan to build a $22 billion fence at the Mexican border…Other sites for the artwork across the city include the Essex Street Market on the Lower East Side, Cooper Union on Astor Place, Doris C. Freedman Plaza at Central Park and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens. The exhibition runs Oct. 12, 2017 through Feb. 11, 2018.” NYSCA supports the Public Art Fund through our Visual Arts Program.
Off-Broadway theaters stay afloat as they test the waters with shows bound for the Great White Way
“How do you get to the Great White Way? Well, for most performers, the road starts Off-Broadway. Roughly 100 shows open every year in the commercial and nonprofit theaters that make up the Off-Broadway League — a talent incubator that’s fueled some of the industry’s biggest hits…In the past 25 years, 17 Pulitzer Prize-winning plays began Off-Broadway, including [‘Hamilton’]. Other well-known Broadway hits with indie roots include ‘Avenue Q,’ ‘Driving Miss Daisy,’ ‘Rent’ and ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’…Half of the 2016 Best Actor Emmy nominees have worked Off-Broadway, including Claire Danes, Viola Davis, Matthew Rhys, Keri Russell, Liev Schreiber and Kevin Spacey. Over the past two decades, 303 of all Tony nominations and 106 of the wins were for productions started Off-Broadway.” NYSCA Theatre Program grantees mentioned Second Stage Theatre, the Public Theater, and Playwrights Horizons.
BAM Goes Heavy On Virtual Reality With Teknopolis Exhibit For Kids
“The Brooklyn Academy of Music has long been at the forefront of promoting the avant garde [including]…Teknopolis, an interactive, multi-space exhibit for kids that ran from Feb. 25 to March 12. The exhibit was inspired by…installations as the Toronto International Film Festival’s fest for kids, which incorporated a large digiPlaySpace gallery with indie games, robots and other tech experiences. The BAM exhibit was designed to present works that would ‘inspire the creative impulses of visitors, encouraging them to create their own music or animation, or at least elicit strong responses from them about the exhibit’s experiences’… One of the key benefits of the exhibit is that it allowed visitors to sample virtual reality and experience adventures using the technology. Most visitors had their first VR experience at the exhibit. Among the highlights: the installation ‘Shifting Clouds’ by artists Adrien M and Claire B, which featured clouds in the shape of the visitor’s silhouette; ‘The Turning Forest,’ a VR fantasy tale with 3D sound created by BBC Research & Development and VRTOV; ‘Pop n’ Lock Dance Machine’ by Catshrine, which allowed visitors to create their own animated dance videos; and ‘Lumarca,’ a volumetric display by Matt Parker and Josh Holtsford presenting a digital avatar of the visitor that mimicked his or her movements… According to BAM, 2,700 members of the public attended the exhibit.” BAM intends to make Teknopolis an annual experience. NYSCA supports BAM through our Presenting and Electronic Media & Film Programs.
Buffalo Arts Studio celebrates 25 years in downtown Buffalo
“The Buffalo Arts Studio started 25 years ago with the idea to bring an affordable studio space to Buffalo. With the rising cost of living in the city, leaders in Buffalo’s art world created a space where artists could afford to develop. The Buffalo Art Studio is one of the original tenants at the budding Tri-Main Building. Curator Shirley Verrico said, ‘When it started there were hardly any businesses in the Tri-Main building and the neighborhood around the building was suffering…[Now] There are hundreds of businesses within the Tri-Main building, it’s some of the best of what happens in Buffalo.’ The Buffalo Arts Studio is spreading across Western New York, especially on the city’s east side. Verrico said, ‘We really have faith in our neighborhood. We’re watching it develop in such a positive and wonderful way and we believe the arts are a huge part of that. We see how it changes people’s lives, how it changes neighborhoods.’ Now 90 artists who are all connected through Buffalo Art Studios will celebrate that this weekend through an auction: A fundraiser to keep the Buffalo Art Studio dream alive.” At the 22,000 square-foot studio, original art prices will begin at $50. NYSCA supports Buffalo Arts Studio through our Visual Arts, Special Arts Services, and Facilities programs.