Bay Ridge community members partner for inspired culture festival

March 3, 2016 Ulrik Narcisse
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There’s nothing like a crowd to melt away the winter chill.

Bay Ridge businesses teamed up with the community on Sunday, February 27 to beat away the winter blues, during the community’s fourth annual “Embrace Winter” festival. The event was coordinated by the Bay Ridge Arts and Culture Alliance, a group founded in 2011 to highlight arts and culture in the area.

The alliance, otherwise known as BRACA, founded the “Embrace Winter” festival four years ago in order to partner community businesses with local creative talent. For 2016, festival partners offered participants plenty to see and do, from gallery viewings to arts and crafts and performances.

“I think this year was one of the best ones in terms of performance and content,” said Victoria Hofmo, a founder of BRACA. “I try to pair businesses and artists together that I feel go well with each other.”

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Regina Opera Company held an hour-long concert featuring pieces from operas and Broadway shows. Singers were backed by a flutist and pianist. Other programs included a traditional Indian dance performance, ice fishing games and clay sculpting.

Ping Lu, owner of Cream Coffee House, 7210 Third Avenue, displayed artwork created by children from the Ridge Creative Center, a children’s arts center at 6501 Sixth Avenue.

“I think it’s awesome what they’re doing right now,” said Lu. “I liked the art so I asked them if I could keep it up for another month. It’s a good way to raise awareness for what they’re doing. Centers like this where they promote creativity are definitely needed.”

Plans for next year’s festival have not begun, but Hofmo says she looks forward to the growth of the festival and raising awareness within the community for following years.

“We want more people to take advantage of it,” said Hofmo. “It’s a wonderful event.”
More information on the Bay Ridge Arts and Cultural Alliance can be accessed at

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