Bronx River Arts Center Gets $10 Million Boost

Rendering of the Bronx River Arts Center renovation, scheduled for compeltion by fall 2016. Photo: Courtesy Bronx River Arts Center

According to a report in the New York Daily News, the Bronx River Arts Center (BRAC) is getting a much-welcomed, $10 million, city-funded renovation following passage of a new budget last week.

It will include a brand new exterior design, new classrooms, studio spaces, a computer lab, and a ground floor art gallery. Completion is expected by fall 2016.

The new budget passed by the City Council last week included $23 million in funds for expanded arts instruction, Councilman Ritchie Torres (D-Fordham) confirmed. The Center, a non-profit organization, was founded in 1987, and offers studio space and art classes for teens and adults. Since 2010, when the aging, century-old building was closed, programs have been conducted at alternate sites in the neighborhood.

Last week, BRAC executive director Gail Nathan took part in a groundbreaking ceremony with recently appointed cultural affairs commissioner, and former Queens Museum director Tom Finkelpearl. Said Nathan: “It is important to have a place for the community to come to for safe, creative experiences that they can grow with.”

Finkelpearl added: “The arts really need to touch every community. [They] are not just for well-heeled communities. That is the message of (the project). The users of the BRAC are going to be the people of the neighborhood.”

Christine DeFazio, a teacher at the South Bronx Academy for Applied Media said the renovation would give residents more affordable access to arts programming. “I think this is going to create a community for parents to come see art, and bring our students,” she said.

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