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Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC)

Brooklyn, NY         

BROOKLYN’S CULTURAL ANCHOR


Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) is the leading organization supporting and connecting Brooklyn’s arts community.  Founded in 1966, we have also been the catalyst helping the arts community grow. BAC serves artists and cultural organizations, and ensures residents of all backgrounds and ages have access to affordable arts experiences. We give grants, present arts events, train artists and arts professionals, teach students, incubate new projects, and promote artists and cultural groups across the borough. Our leadership has helped Brooklyn become home to more artists than any other borough, and for the arts to flourish across the borough. We serve approximately 15,000 artists and cultural groups and 200,000 residents annually; our constituency reflects the Brooklyn’s ethnically and socio-economically diverse population.


In addition to providing artist support services, such as grants and fiscal sponsorship, we also provide a variety of public programs. Our Arts in Education programs create employment for artists, while at the same time providing approximately 20,000 New Yorkers with the benefits of arts participation. Our year-round schedule of presentation programs gives artists and cultural organizations platforms to earn income and build audiences for their work. Each year, we present several public programs, from our Scene: Brooklyn film screenings to BAC Gallery exhibitions to innovative Folk Arts programs highlighting the diversity of traditional cultures in Brooklyn. Take a look at our recent events here!


ABOUT BAC FOLK ARTS


As one of the few organizations statewide with a professionally trained folk arts staff, BAC is committed to showcasing the work of Brooklyn’s diversity of traditional artists and cultures.  Through a yearly festival of free and low-cost public programs, BAC Folk Arts documents, preserves, supports, and presents Brooklyn artists—most from immigrant-based communities—whose work explores traditions of cultural heritage to equally diverse audiences. BAC Folk Arts supports BAC’s mission by bringing a broad cross-section of New Yorkers—from underserved audiences to regular arts-goers, all from a variety of ethnic backgrounds—together as audience members and participants. We intentionally make events open to the public, charge little to no cost for admission, partner with community-based organizations, and present programs throughout the entire borough to reach a wider audience of New Yorkers.


In spring 2013, BAC Folk Arts presented Harborlore, a unique series of events exploring the role of water in the artistic traditions of Brooklyn’s diverse communities. In light of the recent destruction left by Hurricane Sandy, which ravaged many areas of Brooklyn, Harborlore also examined how traditional and immigrant-based communities employ traditional arts to cope with natural disasters. Other recent programs include Half the Sky Festival, an unprecedented series of events that highlighted the often under-recognized Brooklyn women working in traditional arts; Black Brooklyn Renaissance, a yearlong research/presentation project exploring Black arts and culture in Brooklyn from 1960-2010; Folk Feet, a project presenting the diversity of traditional dance practices represented in Brooklyn; and Brooklyn Maqam Arab Music Festival, a series of 17 events that featured over 100 artists representing traditions from around the Arab world.


BAC Folk Arts is led by Christopher Mulé. Mulé earned his M.A in Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, Bloomington. Prior to formally joining BAC, he served as the Deputy Director and Director of Folklife at Staten Island Arts (formerly COAHSI). In addition to BAC, Mr. Mulé serves on the Board of Directors for the Ghanaian Association of Staten Island, a Liberian service organization called Napela, and as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the New York Folklore Society (NYFS). 

Brooklyn Arts Council Brochure

An overview of Brooklyn Arts Council’s programs and services.

BAC Folk Arts Overview

An overview of recent BAC Folk Arts programs featuring performances by artists representing a variety of cultures including Muna Abdul Aziz (Arab), Shobana Ram (Indian Hindu), Yasser Darwish (Egyptian), Winston “Jeggae” Hoppie (Guyanese), Vongku Pak (Korean), and African dance group Kowteff. Through a yearly festival of free public programs, BAC Folk Arts documents, preserves, supports, and presents Brooklyn artists—most from immigrant-based communities—whose work explores traditions of cultural heritage to equally diverse audiences.

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Black Brooklyn Renaissance Overview

BAC has a longstanding commitment to highlighting the important roles tradition bearers play in contemporary culture, as seen in our 2010-11 research, documentation, and presentation initiative, Black Brooklyn Renaissance (BBR). Over a year-long period, BAC presented performances, exhibitions, workshops, an oral history project, and a conference exploring how the diversity of Black cultures in Brooklyn—African American, Afro-Caribbean, and African—have interacted to make the borough a center for Black culture. BBR featured over 200 artists.

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