The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP), which manages three contiguous Business Improvement Districts (BID) in Downtown Brooklyn, announced earlier this month it is giving 18 arts organizations that are developing new work, and perfecting ongoing pieces free space for a month.
Dubbed the Rehearsal Residency Initiative, the socially-distanced space was allocated at 300 Ashland Place, which is owned by developer Two Trees Management. The initiative was developed in August as a response to the COVID pandemic.
“Downtown Brooklyn is home to some of the city’s most exciting cultural institutions and artists, many of whom have struggled to continue working through the pandemic. By rethinking how we use public space, we can offer the cultural community a safe place to continue working, collaborating and producing the art that has made our neighborhood such a vibrant place to be over the years and for decades to come,” said DBP President Regina Myer.
In 2013, Two Trees bought the 300 Ashland site, a former parking lot in the heart of the Brooklyn Cultural District and bounded by Flatbush and Lafayette avenues and Hanson Place from city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
It developed the site into a 35-story, 379-luxury apartment unit complex with an Apples Store and a Whole Foods anchoring the commercial street-level of the massive building.
As part of the deal, Two Trees agreed to provide a 50,000-square-foot space on the second and third floors called the L10 Arts and Cultural Center as part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) cultural district.
The space includes a gallery and performance space for the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), which local City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo founded and served as the CEO until being elected in 2013.
Space also includes a new branch for the Brooklyn Public Library; and studios and performance space for 651 ARTS.
Part of the deal Two Trees made with the EDC also includes a 15,000-square-foot outdoors arts plaza on the Lafayette Avenue side of the development.
The plaza was designed to host cultural public performances and is currently programmed by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership with support from Two Trees and the organizations located in the Brooklyn Cultural District — BAM, BRIC, Mark Morris Dance, TFNA, and the organizations that will occupy L10.
The Rehearsal Residency Initiative was created to use the Plaza to support artists since it could no longer host performances due to Covid19 restrictions.
The arts organizations chosen under the initiative represent a diverse group of participating artists and rehearsal projects featuring multiple artistic disciplines including music, theater, performance art, dance, circus, and film.
This list includes the Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, the Artichoke Dance Company, Babacar Top, BodyRa Movement, Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir, Dancewave, Dawn Drake & ZapOte, De Funes Dance, Djoniba Dance & Drum Centre, Emmanuele Phuon, Head & Company, HERE, Iris McCloughan, Jamal Jackson Dance Company, Kim Katzberg, Pure Samba, Rob & Miss Jane and the ZCO/DANCEPROJECT.