Program Highlights

Our programming is as diverse and multicultural as Brooklyn. Check out the wide array of residencies, performances, workshops and other exciting programs tailored for the communities we serve.

For more Arts in Education highlights, check out the BAC Blog.

April 2014 Spotlight: Filmmaking To Explore Emotion

Students at PS 80Q in Jamaica, Queens are spending part of their school day creating films as a way to better understand emotion. By taking on specific roles such as director, camera operator, producer, actor, writer, and casting director, in the process of making their films, students gain experiential knowledge of professional filmmaking processes. Working as part of a team to create their films, students develop collaboration skills and learn to compromise while maintaining an artistic vision. 

Students at PS 80Q film each other’s “happy place” during a filmmaking residency with teaching artist Julian Klepper. Photo: BAC

While learning technical aspects of filmmaking from camera operation and angles to lighting to scriptwriting, students are also learning to act through gesture and expression without words. They are creating silent films in which they’re challenged to show how an emotion like anger or happiness or jealousy feels when you breathe, in your body, and on your face. Through this exploration, students are also learning to assess the emotions other people are experiencing by examining their facial expressions, body language, and breathing. For these students, film has become a safe place for expression.

During a recent program observation, AIE Director Kathleen Christie asked a small group of students if it would be ok if she stayed around and watched their class take place, to which one student said, “Of course! This class is having the most fun in the whole school!”


September 2013 Spotlight: PhotoVoice

This summer, 38 young adults participating in "PhotoVoice" have been exploring photography as a means of visual storytelling. Through funding from the New York City Mayor’s Office Center for Economic Opportunity, and in partnership with the Red Hook and Brownsville Community Justice Centers, BAC is working with teaching artist Brenna McLaughlin as well as teaching artists Russell Frederick and Sam Barzilay from United Photo Industries (UPI) to provide 2 participatory photography residencies. The artists have taught technical skills in photography while also sharing the historical and social context of photography with a focus on social justice.

Participatory photography gives youth the opportunity to connect in a visual dialogue that often excludes them. This project engages students through a series of workshops and class critiques, empowering students to craft visual stories from their own unique perspectives. Each student selected their final projects to engage the public on topics that inspire or concern them.

Student artwork by Monica Hawkins (left) and Keson Simon (right).

During the final Brownsville class on August 16, one student expressed the impact of this program: “This is a stepping stone for my career.  I’m more confident going after what I want.  There are people in Brownsville who wants good – not just old people.  We, the young, we’re the future.” Other responses to the teaching artist’s question, “What did you learn or gain from this class?” included:

“I learned how to get along with people – interact.  I got a better understanding of how to complete something – really work.”

“I got to work with people in a community I used to think of as small, but now I see as big – and I see what an impact we can make.  I also learned how to use my camera – not just using it, but control it to make what I want. I learned what a network is.”

Brownsville students. Photo: Russell Frederick.

April 2013 Spotlight: The Listening Project

Through the SPARC program, seniors in Midwood are sharing their wisdom and stories about life, love, family and home. Over the past two years, documentary filmmaker and BAC grantee Dempsey Rice has collected over 100 oral histories from members of the Council Center for Senior Citizens in Midwood, where she was a resident SPARC artist.  The Listening Project: Midwood explores universal themes through distinct individual slices of life from the 20th century into the 21st; it prioritizes focused and attentive listening, reflection and sharing. Rice encourages viewers to share their responses to the seniors’ outpouring of personal histories by commenting on the videos. The series of videos has been screened at the Council Center and is now available online

Ethel Weinberg: “Tall dark and handsome.” Ethel Weinberg was married in 1935 at the age of 17. Her husband was better looking than Rudolph Valentino.

Michelle Bouganem: “He kidnapped me.”


BAC Arts in Education programs are made possible, in part, by public and private funds from The New York Community Trust, TD Charitable Foundation, CME Group Community Foundation, Concord Baptist Christfund, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, New York City Department for the Aging, New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council. Additional support for BAC programs is provided by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

SPARC is a collaboration among the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Department for the Aging and the City's five local arts councils situated in each borough – Brooklyn Arts Council, Bronx Council on the Arts, Council on the Arts and Humanities of Staten Island, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and Queens Council on the Arts. It was developed as part of Age-Friendly NYC, a citywide effort to make the City more livable for seniors, and previously ran in 2011-2012 after a successful pilot called Space for Art in 2009.  The 2012-2013 SPARC program is supported, in part, by public funds from the Department for the Aging.