Our other guest for the week will be Becky Dingsor, who is a development assistant for BAM. BAM stands for the Brooklyn Academy of Music, but contrary to its name, BAM is not a school. It’s actually a not-for-profit center for the performing arts with a particular focus on the progressive and avant-garde. Founded in 1861, BAM is the oldest continuously operating performing arts center in America. It consists of four main performance facilities: the Howard Gilman Opera House, the Harvey Lichtenstein Theater, the Rose Cinemas, and the Lepercq Space, also known as the BAMcafé. Many artists worldwide have come to perform and showcase their work at BAM, including the Met Opera, Philip Glass, and Ingmar Bergman. One of the main goals of the organization is to bring the more independent arts to the Brooklyn neighborhood, as well as provide revitalization, diversity, education, and outreach. BAM produces up to 220 performances a year, many of which are international.
Similarly, Celebrate Brooklyn is a long-running festival held at the Prospect Park Bandshell over the summer that features cutting edge performing arts from all genres, including film, theater, song, and dance. This eight week long extravaganza, hosted by the BRIC Arts | Media |Bklyn organization, is completely free and draws upwards of 250,000 attendees each year. Celebrate Brooklyn showcases international successes of all genres, up-and-coming artists, and everything in between, from the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra to The Blue Man Group to brand new multimedia performances and exhibitions. In addition to bringing art to Brooklyn, the program is also dedicated to nurturing and supporting new works and often commissions work from cutting edge artists and groups, such as the Brave New World Repertory Theater.
Both work with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership to enliven the BAM Cultural District of Brooklyn, which features a great number of artistic institutions. Together, they work to foster and inspire creativity in the community.