"Arts" is an all-inclusive category encompassing virtually all forms of
creative expression. Among its major disciplines are: music, theatre,
literature, visual art, spoken word, film and video, and, increasingly, the
Countless artists, writers, and performers work in New York City every day.
Together with their audiences (both homegrown and far-flung) they constantly
define and redefine New York City's creative landscape, making it an
unparalleled cultural feast.
The City of New York administers a wide-ranging network of programs and
subsidies to support the City's artists and arts institutions. The
Department of Cultural Affairs estimates that there are more than 1,200
nonprofit arts organizations in the five boroughs. Cultural Affairs provides partial
support to about five hundred such groups. For FY2000
arts support will exceed $100 million. Including capital expenditures for
future projects, that figure rises to upwards of $300 million.
Munn is the chairwoman of the New York City Arts Coalition, a citywide
advocacy group. She is also president of the Artists Community Federal Credit
Union, and is a former chairwoman of The City Club of New York.
Simon Watson is the executive director of Downtown
Arts Projects, a New York-based non profit dedicated to
emerging artists of all disciplines.
(Sept '01) The lion's share of New York City's art and cultural
media attention, and resulting visitor traffic, seems to
go to the cultural institutions located in Midtown
Manhattan and the Museum Mile. That is great for the
Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art,
the Guggenheim and the Whitney. But how do you compete
for a share of that audience when your cultural
institution resides outside that mid-Manhattan
A group of six Brooklyn institutions has found a
solution by banding together to promote themselves as
a cultural destination -- in the Heart of Brooklyn.
Established informally in 1998 by the Brooklyn Botanic
Garden, Brooklyn Children's Museum, Brooklyn Museum of
Art, Brooklyn Public Library, Prospect Park Alliance
and Prospect Park Zoo, the Heart of Brooklyn Cultural Consortium
is a model of intra-institutional collective action.
The directors and trustees of the member organizations
share a vision of heightening cultural awareness and
substantially increasing programming opportunities for
their membership and the public.
"It just makes a great deal of sense to bring it all
together. We all have existing programming
relationships, but it seemed better to work together
formally rather than just on an ad-hoc basis" says
Arnold Lehman, board member of Heart of Brooklyn and director of the
Brooklyn Museum of Art. "More than that, our goals are
to tell people how easy it is to get to the Heart of
Brooklyn and how much there is to do when you're
here. From art and science to a stroll in the park,
there's something for everyone and all ages."
Educational programming is a highlight of Heart of Brooklyn
Activities. It is a vehicle for increasing access to
the vast educational and cultural resources and
collections of the member institutions, and it is a way
to promote each of the Heart of Brooklyn projects through the member
Branding the Heart of Brooklyn as a "better and
stronger destination point for the people of Brooklyn
and the city is certainly a major goal of ours" says
Tupper Thomas, president of the Consortium (as well as
president of Prospect Park Alliance and administrator
of Prospect Park). "But mostly we're working on a
number of wonderful projects that we've worked on for
a number of years, like the Trolley and the Children's
The members of Heart Of Brooklyn jointly participate in a variety of
Brooklyn Cultural Adventures Program is a
recreational camp for children 10 to 12 years old representing a broad
cross-section of Brooklyn's population. It
was created in 1998 to engage children in fun,
educational activities in summer and winter that
introduce them to each institution's collections.
The Brooklyn Expedition is a web site that
educational services to the community by offering
teachers, children and families the resources of three
major Brooklyn institutions, the Brooklyn Children's
Museum, the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Brooklyn
Additionally, five of the consortium's members collaborate to
run the Heart of Brooklyn Trolley, with hourly stops
throughout Prospect Park and its neighboring cultural
institutions. The trolley is free of charge and
connects with the Brooklyn Children's Museum Trolley.
"Heart of Brooklyn is working because it's a good
idea, and also because the directors are enthusiastic
about working together" says
Ellen Salpeter. "During the extensive planning
process, we studied institutional partnerships in
other parts of the country and found that ours was
unique in its diversity of membership." They
have served as a model for proposed partnerships in
Queens, Staten Island and Newark.
"We're a very collegial group, which isn't always the
norm" says Tupper. "This group of institutions has
something very unique to offer, unlike anything in the
The official announcement of the creation of the
Heart of Brooklyn Cultural Consortium will be made in
Norma's Favorite Sites For Beginners:
NYC Department of Cultural Affairs - Official NYC site sings the
Mayor's praises as champion of the arts; details a funding policy clearly
weighted towards the city's largest cultural institutions; and explains
services offered (e.g. Materials for the Arts, and DCA's Artist's
Certification Program). Check out Percent for Art, NYC's program for art in
civic spaces, where you'll find great images of work by Vito Acconci, Mel
Chin, Alice Aycock and many more.
New York State Council on the Arts - Committed to maintaining New York State's culture, NYSCA accomplishes its
goal by making grants to non-profit arts organizations. Like the DCA and
NYFA (see below), NYSCA is very supportive of those programs which marry
technology and the arts, as well as arts-in-education "partnerships". Much
emphasis on multiculturalism, decentralization and special opportunities for
"the underrepresented". Surf this site to find out where NYSCA's dollars are
going and why - as well as how to apply for funding.
New York Foundation for the Arts -
service organization, set up by NYSCA. NYFA supports thousands of artists,
non-profit arts orgs and arts-in-education initiatives throughout New York,
offering fiscal sponsorship, workshops, loans, fellowships, in-school artist
residencies and more. Info-rich site but a bit tedious to navigate. Super
links! See also Artswire, NYFA's brainchild and now the
nation's premier online communications network for the arts.
Center for Arts Information -
Indy non-profit works closely with municipal agencies to administer ambitious $36 million, 5-year program aimed at restoring arts to public schools. Site details the 82
partnerships created since CAE's inception involving public schools and 135
Third World Newsreel - Great site for searching by
topic for films and video you may recall only vaguely. 30 year collection.
Harvestworks - Established for artists using
electronic technology, but site is easy to use and should pique the curiosity
of anyone interested in the arts. Calendar and good links to lots of other
Meet the Composer - Offers listing of
opportunities competitions for artists, and for the non-composer has a great
series of conversations with composers.
Poets & Writers - A bit focused on the industry, but the
Trivia question alone is worth visiting if you are a reader. Good resource
The Kitchen - This center for video, music,
dance, performance and literature has real info on video. List of those it
has sponsored, presented or worked with reads like a Who's Who of the
video/music/performance combinations we now take for granted.
Theatre Development Fund - Group supports production of
new play and musicals, but best known for the TKTS booth in Times Square.
Advantage of the site, aside from telling you a lot more about theatre and
TDF, is that you can get on their mailing list for discount seating if you
are on the following "students, teachers, union members, retired person,
performing arts professionals, the clergy, and members of the armed forces."