Brooklyn Academy of Music has announced a $25 million construction project that will connect its three discrete spaces—the Beaux-Arts Peter Jay Sharp Building in Fort Greene (which replaced the original theater in 1908), the BAM Harvey Theater (1987), and the BAM Fisher (2012) —and also build permanent art galleries and new patron amenities, according to an article in the New York Times. Construction will begin soon, with a completion date estimated at September 2017. BAM has raised $17 million so far, including a $6.2 million donation from the city of New York.
The project, called BAM Strong after the Strong children of main donor and trustee Brigitte Vosse, was spurred by the recent cultural growth in Brooklyn’s Cultural District, now home to over 40 nonprofit arts organizations. (Chelsea’s Eyebeam is on deck to join them.) In the midst of all this activity, BAM thought it wise to, as the Times phrases it, “establish an anchor on the…district’s northern border” by connecting its three locations.BAM Harvey, located at 651 Fulton Street, will be joined with a one-story structure at 653 Fulton, and also with the ground floor of a condominium building located at 230 Ashland Place. Besides additions of a visual art gallery with its own Fulton Street entrance and a sculpture terrace, BAM Harvey will also be fitted with new balcony seating. (BAM chairman Alan H. Fishman is quoted as saying, “We have to improve the Harvey customer experience. We’re going to make the people who sit in the balcony a lot happier.”) According to Paul Broches, a partner at commissioned firm Mitchell Giurgola Architects, BAM will take this opportunity—along with a $3.5 million gift from the Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust—to rebrand as an institutional intersection between art and theater, the Times reports.BAM has also leased the second and third floors of a forthcoming apartment building on the south side of the District, to be named the BAM Karen after former president Karen Brooks Hopkins, which will feature films from the BAM archives.The Fulton Street buildings will be linked by a new canopy to herald BAM’s presence. Hopkins, who served as president of BAM until last month, told the Times, “This is the last piece of the BAM campus. It will unite the whole block,” while Fishman added, “We need to have that presence on the corner as the neighborhood gets built up—we want to make sure our patrons know there’s a BAM Harvey down the street.”