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June 6, 2017
BOROUGH PRESIDENT ENCOURAGES BROOKLYNITES TO ATTEND FREE FAMILY-FRIENDLY FESTIVAL ON JUNE 10TH-11TH ALONG BOROUGH’S FAMED CULTURAL CORRIDOR
BROOKLYN, NY, June 6, 2017: Today, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams announced that his second annual Central Brooklyn Arts & Culture Weekend will be headlined by a “Welcome Back to Brooklyn” ceremony that will bestow engraved pavers along the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s famed Celebrity Path, as well as the “keys to Brooklyn” to multi-platinum hip-hop star Fabolous and groundbreaking abstract/neo-expressionist artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, both of whom are world-famous sons of the borough. Since 1985, more than 160 Brooklynites who have gone on to make outstanding contributions in art, business, film, literature, music, sports, and more have had their names inscribed on this walkway. Borough President Adams highlighted the importance of celebrating Brooklyn’s creative geniuses as essential to promoting cultural enrichment and supporting the borough’s artistic institutions, important elements of his Central Brooklyn Arts & Culture Weekend; the family-friendly celebration will take place on Saturday, June 10th and Sunday, June 11th along the stretch of Eastern Parkway from Grand Army Plaza to Washington Avenue.
“Fabolous and Jean-Michel Basquiat have shown the world the best of Brooklyn — the sheer genius of their respective music and art broke ground and touched countless lives around the world,” said Borough President Adams. “What better way to celebrate their many contributions, and the wonderful artistic and cultural offerings of central Brooklyn than by placing their names on the famed Celebrity Path? Each paver is encircled by the phrase, ‘The Greatness of Brooklyn Is Its People.’ This is the essential spirit of One Brooklyn, and the spirit of our Central Brooklyn Arts & Culture Weekend will embody that as well.”
Brooklyn native Fabolous, also known as John David Jackson, is of Dominican and African-American descent, having grown up in the Breevort Houses of Bedford-Stuyvesant. He worked his way to the top of the hip hop recording industry through hit singles including “Breathe,” “Make Me Better,” and “Baby Don’t Go.” Few rap artists have been able to sustain as credible and hit-worthy career as Fabolous, whose catalog of certified gems and hit singles is almost as long as his list of collaborators, which includes Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Trey Songz, Ne-Yo, Chris Brown and Nicki Minaj. Music remains the source of his success, but that hasn’t stopped him from padding his business portfolio by launching projects that naturally align with his sensibilities, whether it’s releasing a jersey collection, creating an emoji app or, more recently, becoming an ambassador for Jay-Z’s D’USSE cognac as well as Floh Vodka.
“I feel honored to be inducted into Brooklyn’s own Celebrity Path and receive a key to the city this month,” said Fabolous. “I am grateful to be recognized by my hometown for my contributions and to receive the borough’s highest honor.”
Basquiat was a Brooklyn-born abstract artist who broke ground with his informal graffiti art around the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the late 1970’s. His half-Haitian, half-Puerto Rican background inspired his work, which gained fame in the hip-hop, post-punk, and street art movements of the 1970’s and 1980’s due to their evocative messages around racism, sexism, political violence, and economic inequality in America. He transitioned from street graffiti to neo-expressionist paintings, working his way up the art world to display his works in galleries and museums around the world, notably the Brooklyn Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, the Institute of Contemporary Arts and Serpentine Galleries in London, and Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. His vivid paintings incorporated diverse imagery including African masks, Egyptian murals, pop culture, and jazz. His works have sold around the world for upward of $110 million at some of the most prominent art auctions including Christie’s in London and Sotheby’s in New York City. Basquiat prints have been used for international fashion brands including Uniqlo and Urban Outfitters, and some of the world’s biggest stars have private collections of his works including Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Debbie Harry, Jay-Z, and Madonna.
“Our family continues to be incredibly proud of the extent to which Jean-Michel’s life work has been appreciated,” said Jeanine Basquiat, sister of Jean-Michel Basquiat, who spoke on behalf of the Basquiat family. “We are grateful to Borough President Adams and his team for creating this platform from which to honor our brother and his Brooklyn roots.”
The second annual Central Brooklyn Arts & Culture Weekend has been designed by Borough President Adams to be a block party-style celebration that will commemorate the extraordinary creativity and spirit of Brooklynites whose work excites the imagination and brings the borough’s residents closer together as One Brooklyn. The weekend will kick off on Saturday, June 10th, with a family-friendly Movie Night Under the Stars, held outdoors behind the iconic Brooklyn Museum; the evening will begin at 6:00 PM with children’s activities including balloon art, face painting, puppet making, and refreshments. On Sunday, June 11th, in partnership with State Senator Jesse Hamilton, Council Member Laurie Cumbo, and District Leaders Geoffrey Davis and Shirley Patterson, the festival portion of the weekend will take place; activities will include: a day-long dance party with a high-energy lineup of DJ entertainment at the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch in Grand Army Plaza, an interactive children’s playground in Dr. Ronald McNair Park featuring bouncy houses, ball pits, ice cream social, martial arts and skateboard demonstrations, and a gaming truck for kids of all ages; three different stages along Eastern Parkway showcasing diverse performances of music and dance, in addition to local vendors offering a tasty array of cuisines as well as original art and handcrafts. Major cultural institutions along Eastern Parkway will also provide their own offerings. The Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) will stage literary-based activities, arts and crafts, a play area with Imagination Playground blocks, and a family-friendly concert. Also, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) will roll out its kid-friendly Discovery Garden workshop, the Jewish Children’s Museum will provide craft work for all ages in their plaza area, and the Brooklyn Aquarium and Prospect Park Zoo will offer Wildlife Theater performances.
“The Central Brooklyn Arts & Culture Weekend brings families, friends, and neighbors together to enjoy our magnificent Brooklyn cultural institutions,” said State Senator Hamilton. “We have the opportunity to celebrate Brooklyn’s rich artistic and cultural heritage, and to recognize the achievement of Brooklyn luminaries Fabolous and the late Jean-Michel Basquiat. Our community has the blessings of ready-to-access traditions and talents hailing from every corner of the globe, as well as parks, museums, libraries, and public spaces continually engaged in uplifting that diversity. I am proud to partner with my colleagues and these pillars of our neighborhood we renew our commitment to our dynamic Brooklyn community.”
“We had an absolutely great time last year,” said District Leader Davis. “People from all walks of life came out to celebrate the arts, culture, and richness of Brooklyn. We are looking forward to an even greater time this year with vendors, music, exhibits and the like.”
“The Brooklyn Museum is proud to support the 2017 Central Brooklyn Arts & Culture Weekend and the continued efforts of Borough President Adams to celebrate arts and culture in our vibrant borough,” said Anne Pasternak, director of the Brooklyn Museum. “Borough President Adams has been a leader in championing the importance of cultural organizations like the Brooklyn Museum and the vital role we play in the health and welfare of our local communities. Our goal is to inspire and educate our diverse audiences with a sense of true welcome and respect, while providing a home for creative, dynamic arts programming and courageous conversations on important issues that are relevant today.”
“BPL hosts free arts and culture programming throughout central Brooklyn, including a recent Theater of War performance of Sophocles’ Ajax at the Crown Heights Branch, creative writing workshops at the Flatbush Branch, and a full calendar of author talks, concerts, exhibitions, and other thought-provoking events at Central Branch on Grand Army Plaza,” said Linda E. Johnson, president and CEO of BPL. “We are pleased to join Borough President Adams in celebrating the people and institutions who contribute so much to the life of this neighborhood, and we encourage our patrons to attend the Central Brooklyn Arts and Culture Walk on June 11th.”
“BBG is proud to be a part of the Central Brooklyn Arts & Culture Weekend celebrating the renowned cultural offerings available in our community,” said Scot Medbury, president of BBG. “We are equally proud to join in honoring Brooklyn locals Fabolous and Jean-Michel Basquiat when their names are added to BBG’s Celebrity Path, joining the names of other illustrious Brooklynites. We are excited for a day highlighting family programming, culture, and locally-grown artists!”
“Prospect Park Zoo is proud to be a part of central Brooklyn’s cultural collage,” said Denise McClean, facility director for Prospect Park Zoo. “This event is a terrific way to showcase its concentration of activities and venues for members of our community and Brooklyn visitors.”
Sponsors of Borough President Adams’ Central Brooklyn Arts & Cultural Weekend include Affinity Health Plan, AlphaCare, EmblemHealth, Fidelis Care, HBO, Investors Bank, NYC & Company Foundation, and One Brooklyn Fund, Inc. (OBFI).
“On behalf of Affinity Health Plan, we would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to Borough President Adams for organizing such a wonderful cultural & art event in the heart of Brooklyn,” said Joseph Estrella, community engagement representative for Affinity Health Plan.
“AlphaCare is proud to be a sponsor for the 2017 Central Brooklyn Arts & Culture Weekend!” said Beatrice Morton, community outreach manager for AlphaCare of New York. “We take pride to serve our community and help those in need of managed long-term care (MLTC) to live healthier lifestyles.”
“EmblemHealth is proud to support OBFI and the important work they do for those in need in the Brooklyn area,” said Nicole Browne-Jones, community care solutions manager of EmblemHealth. “We appreciate the opportunity to participate in the events planned for Central Brooklyn Arts & Culture Weekend.”
“Radio 103.9 is proud to participate with Borough President Adams for Movie Night Under the Stars,” said Tiffany Seabrook, community affairs director for Radio 103.9. “Brooklyn is an amazing place to live, work and play. And Movie Night Under The Stars is just a nugget of what this borough is about. Radio 103.9 is looking forward to wonderful event with the great people from all over Brooklyn and New York City.”
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