BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Visitors to Bed-Stuy’s Restoration Plaza could see art in motion with a new dance studio and performance space planned at the site of a former Duane Reade.
The Center for Arts and Culture at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation is expanding its campus with additional ground-floor space at 247 Herkimer St. near Brooklyn Avenue, according to the Center’s executive director, Indira Etwaroo.
The 5,282-square-foot area within the plaza was home to a Duane Reade and the center is now in the process of a $100,000 conversion with funding from the State Assembly, Etwaroo added.
Following the pharmacy’s closure, the space had been used for pop-up bazaars and other community events.
The conversion’s first phase is expected to be completed this summer with bathroom upgrades, soundproof walls and mounted mirrors.
Additional funding is being sought to make the space a digital performance studio where artists can experiment with projections, sound and technology to develop their work, the executive director said.
The location, which plans to have two studios with sprung floors and wall-to-wall mirrors, will also offer dance classes and showcases and serve as supplementary rehearsal space for the Center’s Youth Arts Academy, the Billie Holiday Theatre Company and other in-residence organizations.
"This is an exciting time for Restoration. Under the leadership of Colvin Grannum, we continue to elevate our commitment to the arts through capital improvements while poised to celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2017," Etwaroo said.
The center’s partnerships allow the organization to “reimagine 21st century cutting-edge art spaces” to tell “the diverse story of the African Diaspora” and serve the community year-round, she continued.
The planned storefront conversion is one of several upgrades for the center, which is also renovating its Arts Education space in the same building.
The property is already home to the Noel Pointer Foundation, which provides stringed instrument instruction, and the Youth Arts Academy.
The space had a renovation of dressing rooms and bathrooms in the fall, and continued improvements include new flooring in the dance studios and common areas.
The ongoing $4.1 million facelift for the Bed-Stuy’s 200-seat Billie Holiday Theatre is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, Etwaroo added.