Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)
The oldest performing arts venue in America, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) first opened in 1861 for the Philharmonic Society of Brooklyn at 176–194 Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights. That building, which featured a 2,200-seat theater and concert hall, burned to the ground in 1903, prompting BAM to relocate to Fort Greene. Construction of the new facility began in 1906, and a series of events were held in 1908 to celebrate its opening.
Today, America’s oldest performing arts center operates as a multi-cultural site that caters to both local and international visitors, and serves as a gathering place for patrons from all walks of life. It’s also home to experimental and avant-garde musicians, as well as world-renowned programming in music, opera, theater, film, comedy and much, much more. Address: 30 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217
BRIC Arts | Media House + UrbanGlass
Housed inside the now repurposed Strand Theater — a 1918 vaudeville theater, built by architect Thomas W. Lamb and once hosting acts like Harry Houdini — BRIC (Brooklyn Information and Culture) is a unique cultural space that provides a range of diverse programming related to contemporary art, performing arts, and video. Prior to the launch of BRIC House, BRIC Arts Media hosted its activities in several locations throughout Brooklyn. Today, however, the BRIC House provides a 40,000-square-foot space that includes a ballroom, a flexible artist workspace, gallery, a state-of-the-art public access television center and The Stoop, a public gathering space where free programming is held.
In the same building upstairs sits UrbanGlass, the United States’ first and largest glass studio. Established in 1977 by the New York Experimental Glass Workshop, the facility focuses on experimentation and exploration of glass as a creative medium, hosting over 200 artists and even more students. Not only can you take glass blowing classes here, you can also catch showcases and purchase funky glassware. Address: 647 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts
In 1999, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) was founded inside a Bedford-Stuyvesant building owned by the Bridge Street AME Church. This location, formerly a stop on the Underground Railroad, proved to be too small to accommodate a growing number of patrons, and thus, the museum moved to the ground floor of the James E. Davis 80 Arts Building in Fort Greene. Today, it presents a diverse range of exhibitions and educational programs that highlight the experiences and cultural contributions of people of African decent. Additionally, its programming places an emphasis on serving and reaching out to the local (and often underserved) community.