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Kristina Newman-Scott named BRIC president

July 24, 2018 From BRIC
Photo credit: Adam Coppola
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BRIC, a major incubator and supporter of Brooklyn artists and media-makers, and the leading presenter of free cultural programming in the borough, today announced Kristina Newman-Scott as the organization’s new President. The artist, curator, and arts administrator, who since 2015 has served as Director of Culture for the State of Connecticut, assumes leadership of BRIC in September, in the midst of the organization’s 40th anniversary season.

Newman-Scott’s appointment as President of BRIC is the latest chapter in a remarkable, multifaceted career in the arts. She became an acclaimed painter while still a BFA student at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in her hometown of Kingston, Jamaica. When she moved to Connecticut in 2005, she took her first job as a curator and arts administrator—as Director of Visual Arts at Real Art Ways in Hartford. There she conceptualized, organized, and helped to secure funding for over 60 exhibitions and 50 publications, garnering attention from an array of national and international media. In 2010, she was appointed Director of Programs at the Boston Center for the Arts, where she led the management, design, implementation, and evaluation of numerous innovative programs in the fields of literature, dance, visual art, public art, theater, and education, including a small business program focused on creative businesses. She worked to ensure that all of these programs were responsive to Boston’s diverse communities.

From 2012 through 2015, Newman-Scott applied her experience as an artist, and as an organizer of artists and arts and culture programs—as well as her belief in the arts as an engine of social change and economic development—to her first job in government, as Director of Marketing, Events, and Cultural Affairs for the city of Hartford. In an inspiring TED Talk entitled “What is fi yu cyan un fi yu,” she described this role as “curating the city.” She managed $1.5 million in creative economy investments for the city; created and implemented citywide creative leadership initiatives with an emphasis on the arts, innovation, social entrepreneurship, and economic and community development; and designed and implemented new programs that highlighted and supported Hartford’s creative industries and economy while reflecting and involving the city’s many diverse communities.

As the first immigrant and first woman of color to serve as Director of Culture and State Historic Preservation Officer for the State of Connecticut, Newman-Scott oversees all aspects of the state’s programs and services related to art, culture, and historic preservation. She has led the development of the first statewide strategic planning process using a human-centered design methodology; secured funding for innovative capital improvement projects at arts and cultural sites across Connecticut; and is working with Connecticut municipalities to integrate artistic practice and processes for innovative economic and community development.

Newman-Scott’s awards and recognitions include a 2018 Connecticut Women’s Education & Legal Fund, Woman of Inspiration; a 2017 Writers Block, ACE Awardee; Hartford Business Journal Forty Under 40; a National Arts Strategies Creative Community Fellow; a Hive Global Leadership selectee; and a Next City, Urban Vanguard. She is the winner of the Americans for the Arts 2018 Selina Roberts Ottum Award, which recognizes an individual working in arts management who has made a meaningful contribution to his or her local community, and who exemplifies extraordinary leadership qualities; and Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree, for contributions to the fields of arts and culture in the state of Connecticut and nationally. Newman-Scott serves on the boards of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, The Connecticut Forum, and the New England Foundation for the Arts as well the Americans for the Arts Private Sector Council. She has been a TEDx speaker, visiting curator, guest lecturer, or featured presenter at  colleges, universities, organizations and events throughout Connecticut, across the country and internationally. In addition to being a visual artist, Newman-Scott was a creative strategies consultant and a television and radio producer in Jamaica, where she was born and raised. She became a U.S. citizen in 2013.

Hilary Ackermann, Chair the BRIC Board of Directors, said, “We are thrilled and honored to welcome Kristina to Brooklyn, and consider her arrival one the foremost triumphs of BRIC’s 40th anniversary. She has found innovative ways to support artists, cultural practitioners, media-makers, and creative entrepreneurs throughout her singular career. As a creative leader, she has the experience and vision to build on our success and help chart our path for the future.”

Newman-Scott said, “The mission of BRIC—including using the arts as a catalyst to create vibrant, connected, and strong communities—has been part of my DNA as long as I can remember. When we have access to the arts, we can most effectively advocate for our needs, educate our children, invest in the talent around us and support each other. I am honored be a part of the BRIC team, and to continue this important and rewarding work.”

As President of BRIC, Newman-Scott will build upon Leslie Griesbach Schultz’s 13 years of transformative leadership of the organization, including the 2013 opening of BRIC House, a 40,000-square-foot arts-and-media complex that brings BRIC’s year-round programs together under one roof, attracts 100,000 visitors each year, and is a cornerstone of the Brooklyn Cultural District. The facility includes two performance spaces; a major contemporary art exhibition space; a project room for small-scale contemporary art exhibitions; a glass-walled television studio where BRIC TV, the award-winning Brooklyn-focused cable and digital network, films and broadcasts; and a state-of-the-art public access media center, home to BRIC’s media education programs.

BRIC’s programs include the free, summer-long BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, whose 40th season is currently underway; the New York Emmy Award-winning BRIC TV, whose programming includes acclaimed original scripted series, a live daily show, and hyper-local news stories and documentaries; Brooklyn Free Speech TV, a leading public access TV network; a major contemporary art exhibition program; BRIC JazzFest, which brings global legends and emerging artists in jazz to Brooklyn each October; the weekly Stoop Series of free public conversations at BRIC House with artists, authors and filmmakers; family programs; and more. BRIC’s nationally recognized school-based arts and media education program operates in more than 35 Brooklyn public schools each year.

BRIC supports the work of artists and media-makers who reflect the diversity of New York City through programs including BRICLab, which awards ten residencies per year to playwrights, choreographers, composers and others developing new performing arts works; residencies providing 16 visual artists with work space each year; commissioning programs for Brooklyn filmmakers to create new scripted TV series; and long-term residencies for established Brooklyn artists.

While at the helm of BRIC, Schultz also co-founded and provided leadership to two major new coalitions of arts organizations:  the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Alliance, founded in 2011 to help create synergies among arts organization neighbors; and the New Coalition of Culturals in City-Owned Buildings, which has succeeded in securing more equitable and higher-impact funding to cover some of its members’ building operations costs.

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