In response to the impact that COVID-19 has had on the cultural landscape in the city, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership announced the program to allow artists to use The Plaza at 300 Ashland as free outdoor rehearsal space starting in September.
The plaza in Downtown Brooklyn hosts over 50 cultural events annually. Programmed by the partnership, the space was created to enliven the neighborhood and showcase the array of talent and cultural institutions within the Brooklyn Cultural District.
This year, due to the cancellation of large-scale programming and gatherings, the plaza has remained largely dormant. The initiative seeks to reactivate the plaza for rehearsals of up to 15 people.
“As many artists struggle to continue working amid the pandemic, we are searching for innovative ways to support the businesses, organizations and cultural institutions that make our neighborhood vibrant,” said Regina Myer, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.
“The Downtown Brooklyn Rehearsal Residency Initiative will provide opportunities for artists to rehearse safely outdoors,” she added, “and help restore the exciting activist that the Brooklyn Cultural District is known for.”
The partnership noted that many artists, who lost months of paid work, are struggling to afford the spaces they need for their work. The plaza features 150,000 square feet of outdoor space.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, with the first round of resident artists selected in September.
Participants will have access to the plaza up to three times per week between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. for rehearsals up to three hours in length.
The business organization added that preference will be given to Brooklyn-based artists or companies whose work will enliven the plaza.
“In a time of such uncertainty, artists are eager to get back to work, to interrogate, process and respond to our current moment,” said Kate Gabriel, director of cultural affairs for Two Trees Management, which is supporting the initiative. “We are committed to providing safe and affordable space to artists to work, collaborate and create.”