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Downtown Brooklyn 'Blueprint' Calls for Affordable Spaces for Artists

 The Brooklyn Academy of Music.
The Brooklyn Academy of Music.
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Flickr/Jeffrey Bary

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Creating affordable work spaces and housing for artists, redesigning streetscapes, and offering artists fellowships are the main goals outlined in a new “blueprint” released by local groups to protect the arts in the Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District. 

The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, in conjunction with the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Alliance, which includes more than 30 arts groups, released this week “Culture Forward,” an extensive plan consisting of 13 initiatives meant to support artists in the neighborhood.

The plan, which is based on feedback from more than local 100 stakeholders, also proposes connecting local spaces with public art, bringing a new arts festival to the neighborhood, increasing digital access for artists and raising money to create a cultural investment fund for the area.

The report calls specifically on the city to convert unused city-owned space at 31 Lafayette Ave. and in the Brooklyn Bridge Park Administrative Building at 334 Furman St. into 30,000 square feet of affordable artist studios.

The groups suggest working with property owners and elected officials to include affordable studio space in future development plans near the Brooklyn Academy of Music, as well as hosting a series of affordable housing seminars for those working in creative fields.

The plan also recommends designating neighborhood arts buildings with visual markers and designing a distinctive streetscape for the neighborhood that would feature improved wayfinding and lighting.

“Downtown Brooklyn is already a destination for so many because of the incredible cultural activity here,” said Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Tucker Reed.  

“But it takes diligence and creative thinking to maintain and improve that legacy, which is why we’ve set a path to ensure that artists and cultural institutions will not only survive, but thrive in our shared neighborhood. Downtown Brooklyn has always been and should always remain a place where the arts flourish.”

The DBP and the DBAA say they will be working with the city and local organizations to evaluate how they can implement the plan.

To read the full report, click here.