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BRIC 2017 Fall Gala honors City Point pioneer Paul Travis

Brooklyn’s Nonprofit Arts Colossus Celebrates a Banner Year While Preparing for the Next

November 14, 2017 By Andy Katz Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
From left: Sophia Romero, Karen Binger and Victor Ney. Eagle photos by Andy Katz
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Although this year’s BRIC Fall Gala took place some distance away from BRIC House, the portents were all quite good.

The recently completed City Point offered more space than BRIC House, and every extra square inch was needed because nearly twice the number of supporters filled the reception area on Nov. 8, drinking cocktails and champagne, admiring prodigious and conceptually dense works of art for sale by artists nurtured and inspired at BRIC.

“We had a kickass Celebrate Brooklyn this summer!” BRIC President Leslie Schultz declared just before guests sat down to a dinner that was preceded by an artwork auction. The pieces up for sale were donated by some of BRIC’s most successful artists. “Today,” Schultz continued, “as Brooklyn grows before our eyes, it’s important to maintain its heart and soul.”

Yet in spite of its emphasis on matters spiritual and aesthetic, there was a practical aspect to the night, one that went beyond the obvious need to raise the funds necessary to keep the lights on, the toilets flushing and the paint flowing. The night’s honoree was not an artist in the usual sense of the word, but a more down-to-earth sort — Paul Travis, founder and managing partner of Washington Square Partners, and one the key players in City Point’s decadelong gestation.

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“My mentor Ed Koch,” Travis told the audience, “believed in the importance of art as a transformational tool in city life.” After referencing several of BRIC’s notable accomplishments, especially the annual Puerto Rican Bike Club festivals, Travis went on to urge people: “I hope you’ll continue to participate, especially with tonight’s auction!”

People did. Despite a slow start, during which Marela Zacarias’s extraordinary “Homage to the Biomorphic Form 1” didn’t quite meet its declared retail value of $12,000, auctioneer Lucy Sexton used her natural enthusiasm to warm up the audience. Hands rose in the air and several pieces drew spirited competitive bids.

The final tallies for the evening, which came in at just under $450,000, were raised to help support another year of “the leading presenter of free cultural programming in Brooklyn.”


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