The History of Brooklyn Arts Council
For more than four decades, Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) has fostered the cultural life of Brooklyn. Founded in 1966 in the basement of Flatbush resident Charlene Victor, BAC’s first event was a small film festival held that same year in Prospect Park. Today we have a wealth of arts programming and support services in education, professional development, grant-making, fiscal sponsorship, film & media arts and folk/traditional arts. We support Brooklyn’s visual artists through our online Artist Registry and by showing their work in BAC Gallery, our very own exhibition space located in our offices in DUMBO. The borough has changed dramatically over the years, as have we. But we have remained true to our core mission: to promote and sustain the arts in Brooklyn; and to serve the arts, and through the arts, to serve the community as a whole.
In its early years, BAC primarily presented arts programming. It ran the Downtown Cultural Center, also known as BACA Downtown, where Spike Lee, Danny DeVito and Suzan-Lori Parks got their start in the performing arts. In 1980 BAC expanded to include grant-making on behalf of the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. These funding opportunities, known as BAC Community Arts Grants, doubled in size in 1984. In 2003 we launched the JPMorgan Chase Regrant Program, which is funded by that financial services firm. These grants make it possible for us to support other organizations as well as artists and arts administrators at every level of their careers.
To ensure the health of Brooklyn’s cultural community, we run programs like Arts in Education, which nurtures the borough’s next generation of artists. The program, which sends professional artists into schools, community facilities and senior centers across the borough to present arts workshops to students, teachers, parents and seniors, also forges strong connections among generations of cultural-minded individuals.
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