Meet Toni Williams, BAC’s New Board Chair!

This week, BAC’s Board of Directors was pleased to announce the election of Antonia (Toni) Yuille Williams as the new Chair of the Board. Toni most recently served as Vice Chair of the Board, and has been a strong presence in Brooklyn’s community development sector for years. We’re thrilled to see Toni take the helm of this influential group of leaders helping to guide BAC’s vision moving forward! We caught up with Toni recently to pick her brain about working with the BAC Board, her observations of Brooklyn, and her hopes for BAC for the future:

Toni Williams head Shot_preferred_cropped

Antonia (Toni) Yuille Williams

What attracted you to joining the BAC Board of Directors initially? 

I was introduced to the great work of Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) when I first joined Con Edison back in 1990. Con Ed had been and continues to be a long time partner of BAC, back when the organization was referred to as BACA, the Brooklyn Arts and Culture Association. During that iteration, BACA was everywhere….in concerts, in local parks in Brooklyn, at Lincoln Center, and in Downtown Brooklyn, nurturing playwrights. I was an actress in another life, and have always appreciated, consumed, and loved to be immersed in the art world—all aspects of art, visual, and performance. Who wouldn’t be attracted to an organization that nurtures and preserves arts and culture?

Continue reading →

Stop-motion animation and murals bring students together

We’re celebrating National Arts in Education Week by sharing stories of how #ArtsEdChangesLives. Step into two residencies with us to see how students across Brooklyn learn and grow through BAC’s arts education initiatives: 

FY18_PS95_VISUAL_SydneyToon (20) - CopyBAC teaching artists provide hands-on learning experiences for K-12 students in a variety of arts disciplines including dance, digital media, theater, music, visual arts, literary arts, and more. Our residencies foster creativity and imagination as well as community-building and problem-solving by bringing customized programs to schools and students across Brooklyn.

Continue reading →

Mind Your Body

Dance education offers many opportunities for students to explore movement and rhythm physically, while also gaining valuable cardio-vascular exercise.  But learning through dance provides benefits that surpass strengthening muscles and improving one’s heart beat.  As BAC’s Dance Teaching Artists know, the art form can build a range of cognitive abilities and socio-emotional skills.

For example, pre-K students at PS 29 in Brooklyn, who studied dance foundations with Teaching Artist Asma Feyijinmi, practiced moving from high to low and in different directions.  These exercises helped them develop their spatial awareness while also increasing their sense of self-control, which is important for any four-year-old.

Continue reading →

Exploring NYC Through the Arts

FY16 217K Visual Culminating Event (14)

This past summer, second and fourth grade students at PS 217 in Brooklyn participated in BAC theater and visual arts residencies investigating the theme “Exploring New York City”. These residencies, supported through a long-established partnership with Flatbush Development Corporation (FDC), allowed students to bring their home town to life in fresh and personally-relevant ways.

Over the course 8 sessions, teaching artist Valerie Hager led students in creating an original performance piece which depicted life and landmarks in the students’ native city. “What is it you want other people to know about New York?” This question guided and grounded the fourth graders’ show plotline, which ultimately highlighted the various occupations and daily routines of New Yorkers.

Continue reading →

Grantees honored at the 2015 BAC Grants Ceremony

On Wednesday, March 18th, Brooklyn Arts Council celebrated the culmination of our 2015 Grant Season. Hundreds of public officials, performers, panelists, and grantees descended on Brooklyn Borough Hall to commemorate the occasion.

Brooklyn Arts Council Grantee Ceremony Program against Brooklyn Borough Hall Courtroom background. Photo Credit: Marvin Roberts Photography, 2015.

Brooklyn Arts Council Grantee Ceremony Program against Brooklyn Borough Hall Courtroom background. Photo Credit: Marvin Roberts Photography, 2015.

No BAC ceremony is complete without performers, and this year we were graced with some truly amazing talent. Truthworker Theatre Company opened the festivities with a 7 minute compilation of scenes from their two current productions: BARCODE and IN|PRISM: Boxed In and Blacked Out in America. A social justice based, hip hop theatre company based in Brooklyn, Truthworker provides free programming and professional stipends for young visionaries and performers to receive rigorous training. Each production deals with a different need for social and societal change. IN|PRISM examines the impacts and practices of solitary confinement in prisons, while BARCODE addresses the school to prison pipeline in America. For more information about the program, please visit: www.truthworker.com

Continue reading →

Join us at the 4th annual Brooklyn Folk Arts Day (Thursday, Oct 23 @ 7pm)

folkartsday_postcard
On Thursday, October 23 at 7pm, the Brooklyn Arts Council will celebrate the 4th annual Brooklyn Folk Arts Day. This year, BAC’s Folk Arts program will present a gathering of traditional arts leaders for “Bring it on Home: Folk Arts in the Digital Domain” at the Actors Fund Arts Center. Through a discussion led by scholars, archivists, and traditional cultural specialists, “Bring it on Home” will host an important cultural conversation about the importance of giving communities access to and use of their own cultural heritage materials—such as audio, video, and photographic records of music, dance, and other cultural traditions—for the benefit of future generations. This gathering of folk and traditional arts communities will explore the importance of sharing digital materials that document traditions of diverse communities with members of the same communities, and when culturally relevant, with the general public.

Continue reading →

ARTS IN EDUCATION SPOTLIGHT: Recapping An Exciting Year

Before we dive into another school year, we’re excited to share our accomplishments in 2013-14. BAC Arts in Education had programming in all 5 boroughs including 95 school-based residencies and workshops, 23 creative aging programs in senior centers and 89 performances at schools, senior centers and parks. These programs served nearly 15,000 students, teachers, parents and seniors and provided 464 gigs for artists!

This year, we also welcomed some new faces to our AIE Team. Sarah Gepigon joined BAC in January as longtime Arts in Education Coordinator, Deborah Field, stepped away from BAC into the field of occupational therapy. Sarah’s enthusiasm and sense of humor brought some fun to the administrative paperwork processes. We will also soon be welcoming a new Arts in Education Manager as Rebecca Potts moves out of the country to accompany her husband to Prague. We look forward to introducing another new member of the AIE team soon.
In celebrating this year’s fantastic work with BAC teaching and performing artists, and wishing a bittersweet farewell to Debby and Rebecca, we captured some of the artists’ favorite moments, lessons learned, and praise from classroom teachers.

The Chorus at Prospect Hill Senior Center led by teaching artist Renee Manning performs. Photo: BAC.

The Chorus at Prospect Hill Senior Center led by teaching artist Renee Manning performs. Photo: BAC.

Continue reading →