Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Alliance Embraces Bay Ridge Arts and Culture Gentile Puts Brooklyn Spotlight on Community
by Harold Egeln (edit@brooklyneagle.net), published online 04-18-2011

By Harold Egeln
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

BAY RIDGE — This community, 45 minutes from Broadway and 20 minutes from the Brooklyn Academy of Music, is thriving with theatrical, musical and dance performances as well as art exhibits.

And now this growing cultural landscape is in the spotlight with the launch of a new alliance.

“Bay Ridge is home to some of the best arts and cultural happenings in Brooklyn. From theater and opera companies to historical societies and musical choirs, we got it all!” said Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Southwest Brooklyn) at the launch of the Bay Ridge Arts + Cultural Alliance. “Brooklyn’s cultural scene does not stop below Park Slope.

“The number and diversity of events happening here on any given weekend is impressive,” added Gentile, referring to an events calendar distributed at the launch held at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd. “Welcome to a really big show!”

Official borough recognition of Bay Ridge’s cultural institutions came when Georgine Benvenuto’s Gallery 364 on 72nd Street was included on the SmArt Brooklyn Gallery Hop bus tour for the first time in November 2009. Borough President Marty Markowitz and Brooklyn Tourism sponsored the borough-wide tour.

Further recognition of the community as an arts and cultural magnet came this past fall when the 60-year-old Bay Ridge Community Council formed its first arts and cultural committee under the leadership of the late Tom Kane of Brooklyn One Theater and the Narrows Community Theater.

The alliance’s official launch included performances by a Regina Opera singer and two teens from Young Dancers in Repertory. It sprang from conversations that Councilman Gentile had with Victoria Hofmo, founder of the East Coast Scandinavian Museum.

Around the large room at Good Shepherd were tables representing each aspect of the alliance, such as the Bay Ridge Festival of the Arts with President Chandra Hira and the Narrows Botanical Gardens with landscape artist Jimmy Johnson. The garden hosts art, music and movies.

“The alliance will seek to increase partnerships between arts and cultural organizations and local businesses as well as greater cooperation and cross-promotion within the Bay Ridge arts and cultural scene,” explained Gentile.

City Representative Welcomes ‘Amazing Alliance’

“This alliance is an amazing event, feat and accomplishment for your community,” said Chief of Staff Katie Dixon of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. Among those in attendance were representatives from the Brooklyn Arts Council and the Alliance of Community Theaters of New York.

The mission statement of the alliance includes promoting Bay Ridge’s arts and cultural diversity with funding and advocacy organizations, pooled events and local business partnerships, and finding new audiences, and shared spaces for arts and cultural groups that have no permanent spaces.

Alliance member groups include the Bay Ridge Festival of the Arts, Narrows Community Theater, Art at the Corner, Ridge Repertory Company, Narrow Botanical Gardens, Scandinavian East Coast Museum, Young Dancers in Repertory, Harbor Defense Museum, Bay Ridge Historical Society, The Art Room, the Children’s Chorus of Bay Ridge and many others.

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