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Library unveils new television studio at Coney branch

Small Screen Savant: Angela Zonunpari of BRIC instructs students in a variety of editing and producing classes at the new studio inside the Coney Island Library.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

Lights, camera — Coney!

The Brooklyn Public Library is teaming up with a Downtown arts organization to bring a new television and digital-media production studio on the second floor of the library’s Coney Island branch.

Officials from the library and Bric joined elected officials at the Mermaid Avenue branch on July 7 for a ribbon-cutting at the new state-of-the-art space design to help Coney Islanders learn the finer points of video production.

“These are 21st century skills that we need to cultivate,” said Council Member Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island). “We’re engaging residents of all ages by providing hands-on, real-life learning that is fun, marketable, and can lead to a career.”

The new studio will offer classes in video editing, graphic design, photo editing, digital storytelling, and handling a camera. Students can take one-off non-certification classes, or take several classes, get certified, and earn free use of equipment and studio time at Bric’s downtown location to produce programming for the organization’s community access television channels.

Dubbed the Brooklyn Free Speech TV Studio, the three-camera facility includes a switcher, soundboard, recording equipment, and more. It has many of the same capabilities as Bric’s downtown studio, but with a compact design for easy storage so the library space can be used for other purposes if necessary.

A Bric representative said that the partnership with the library was a pairing based on free speech.

“Libraries are places where people have free access to information, and that is kind of what we do,” said Anthony Riddle, Bric’s director of community media. “We provide people with free access to the equipment and we train them.”

Riddle said that Bric has been looking to spread across Brooklyn, and the Coney Island branch of the library made sense because its second floor included a stage that was not seeing much use.

Library officials said the partnership was a great way to showcase the Coney Island branch — which was renovated in 2013 after suffering damage in superstorm Sandy — as well as the life experiences of those who use it.

“With the opening of Bric’s new television studio, Coney Island Library patrons will have the opportunity to produce works of art and document the life of their neighborhood,” said Brooklyn Public Library president Linda Johnson.

Many of the classes offered by Bric are free, but Riddle said that the organization is pretty flexible about their paid courses and makes exceptions for interested students with financial difficulties.

Bric’s Brooklyn Free Speech TV Studio at Brooklyn Public Library, Coney Island Branch [901 Mermaid Ave in Coney Island, (718) 265–3220, bricartsmedia.org].

Reach reporter Eric Faynberg at (718) 260–2508 or by e-mail at efaynberg@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @ericfaynberg.

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