Brooklyn arts organizations flaunt boost in funding

March 3, 2015 Anna Spivak
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In an effort to advance tourism in Brooklyn, Borough President Eric Adams, along with the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) and NYC & Company, presented over 30 local cultural organizations with $45,000 in grants to put toward the promotion and development of their unique programs.

According to BAC, the funding program – called Destination > Brooklyn – will “support the marketing efforts of Brooklyn-based organizations whose primary mission is to provide arts and cultural activities to the general public.”

Through the program, each organization will be granted $1,500 for the creation, production and distribution of promotional materials that represent the specific organization’s creative and cultural offerings.

“This is an initiative that the borough president worked with and supported with funds that he got from NYC & Company,” said Ella Weiss, president of the Brooklyn Arts Council. “What it entailed was our reaching out, because we have a network of 800 arts organizations that we have in our database, and have them apply for money for promotional work.”

Weiss explained that the money could be used for “the design and printing of materials, website work, a poster or flyer, or an event piece” among other uses. According to Weiss, over 115,000 pieces of commercial material were printed as result of the program.

“It’s a very exciting program because these are small groups that really don’t have the wherewithal to find funding for things like this,” added Weiss. “It was fairly wide open as long as it was promotional and connected to tourism.”

Recipients like Alec Duffy, artistic director of JACK, a small arts center in Clinton Hill, used the funds to amass a broader audience throughout his community.

“Our main goal this year was to double our audience, but we didn’t have the resources to increase our marketing,” said Duffy. “It was at that point that I found out about this grant through the Brooklyn Arts Council to provide funds specifically for marketing materials and I thought, ‘This is exactly what we need.’ We applied and we were so happy and fortunate to receive the grant. We try to blanket the area with more information about our programs and our audience numbers are up since we started putting those posters up.”

Stefanie Siegel, owner of Bailey’s Café, a community building and service organization with focus on arts and education production, used the grant to pilot an “apprenticeship project.”

“We had a couple of young people from a high school work with our graphic designer from the beginning of the design to the end, to sort of explore that experience,” said Siegel. “[And] we finally have our own home in Bed-Stuy. [The program] gave us a chance to put an address on our new brochure.”

Adams spoke about the program and said that there was “no better way to really send a signal of the diversity and creativity throughout the city than in the borough of Brooklyn.”

“Allowing individual groups and organizations to develop material that can reach out, grab our psyche,  grab the attention of those that are visiting and say ‘hey, get off the beaten path, come see something different, come see something alive, come see something remarkable in the borough of Brooklyn,’ that’s what this adventure was about,” said Adams.


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