Brooklyn Arts Council supports local artists & arts centers

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Brooklyn artists from all disciplines came together Thursday night for a celebration of the borough’s burgeoning artistic community. The Brooklyn Arts Council event applauded the artists and gave them meaningful support with their annual awarding of re-grants.

The festivities featured performances, art exhibits, a catered reception and last but not least, the distribution of the re-grant checks.

The BAC program, which applies for grants from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), then re-grants the money to deserving Brooklyn artists, explained re-grant coordinator Roseann Evans. BAC awarded re-grants to 113 arts organizations and individual artists ranging from $750 to $4,100. The grants were made to community-based arts projects in the borough of Brooklyn.

Evans thanked the volunteer panelists who had to screen the 178 entries.

Highlights of the ceremony included performances by three of this year’s recipients: Puppetworks; actor Charles Reese (who performed an excerpt from Howard Simon’s "James Baldwin: Soul on Fire"); and percussionists Frisner Augustin and Steve Deats of La Troupe Makandal, named for a Haitian revolutionary, gave a joyful, exuberant finale to the formal ceremony.

In the reception that followed, an exhibition of Chief Isaac Komolafe’s Yoruban woodcarvings were on display as were glass works by Jamie Harris.

Harris, 26, received his grant for an installation to be designed with students in December at the Brooklyn Heights Montessori School on Court Street. The installation will be on display for six months, and there will be a reception open to the public.

Harris said he found the BAC grant application process easy. "You have to do the work, but they want people to apply," he said. "They make it easy for you."

BAC will be celebrating its 35th anniversary on June 14 with a gala event honoring Craig Matthews, president and CEO of Keyspan Corporation and Kevin Burke, president of Con Edison.

BAC President Ella Weiss said this is a particularly exciting time for the organization because, "BAC has a number of new initiatives. The council is currently building a new Web site to be launched in June and printing a directory of Brooklyn arts organizati­ons."
Susan Rowland, a BAC board member and artist, served on the visual arts panel. The volunteer panelists deliberated for an entire weekend last November.

Rowland said she enjoyed the experience because "you meet people from all over - from filmmakers to administrators. We had a lot of good quality artwork, but we need more money. The grants are too small."

To receive a BAC 2002 re-grant pre-application, to nominate a re-grant panelist, or to become a BAC member, call (718) 625-0080.

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