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Brooklyn Public Library Announces Arts and Cultural Programming through September 2020


Featuring Virtual Author Talks with Zadie Smith and Tana Wojczuk, A Celebration of James Baldwin’s Birthday, and A Projection of Music and Images on the Façade of Central Library at Sunset

Featuring Virtual Author Talks with Zadie Smith and Tana Wojczuk, A Celebration of James Baldwin’s Birthday, and A Projection of Music and Images on the Façade of Central Library at Sunset

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) today announced its program of free arts and cultural programming through September 2020, including virtual author talks from acclaimed writers including Zadie Smith, Tana Wojczuk, Peniel Joseph, and Eddie Glaude; live-streamed theater performances produced by BPL with Theater of War Productions and featuring Oscar Isaac and Jumaane Williams, and a twice-weekly projection of meditative music and images on the façade of Central Library, featuring the work of Torkwase Dyson and Randy Weston, among others.

BPL’s summer 2020 programming expands on the Library’s mission to provide access to diverse voices and builds on the Library’s commitment to providing arts, culture, and enrichment during the pandemic to the 2.7 million people who call Brooklyn home.

“As the Library works to safely begin reopening, we have been inspired to reimagine our arts and cultural programming to reflect our new reality, staying attuned to public health precautions while addressing pressing artistic and social issues brought to the fore by the global pandemic and the national movement against anti-Black racism,” said László Jakab Orsós, Vice President of Arts and Culture at Brooklyn Public Library. “We’ve been delighted with the public response to our offerings through the early months of COVID-19, and through this new programming season, we look forward to connecting with the Brooklyn community on critical topics such as climate change, structural racism, police violence, and representation.”

Beginning July 21 and continuing through September, the Library will present projections of art and music on the façade of Central Library on Grand Army Plaza after dusk on Tuesday and Friday evenings. The program will include works by artists such as Torkwase Dyson and Ekene Ijemoa as well as BPL Creatives-In-Residence Suzanne Menghraj and Damali Abrams, recordings of past BPL Presents performances by Molly Netter and ETHEL, PUBLIQuartet, Fred Hersch, Randy Weston, and much more.

On August 9, the sixth anniversary of Michael Brown Jr.’s death in Ferguson, MO., BPL will present Theater of War Production’s Antigone in Ferguson. The production, which was conceived in the wake of Michael Brown Jr.’s murder with community members from Ferguson, will be broadcast live via Zoom with a cast including Oscar Isaac, Ato Blankson Wood, Willie Woodmore, Marjolaine Goldsmith, and Jumaane Williams. The screening will be followed by a community conversation foregrounded by the perspectives of a number of families who have lost their children to police violence, and act as a dialogue between Brooklyn, Ferguson, and the rest of the world on a number of issues including racialized violence, structural oppression, and social justice. BPL is a key partner to Theater of War Productions.

Following the overwhelming success of virtual author talks in spring 2020, which were attended by more than 16,000 people from across Brooklyn and around the world, summer 2020 online author talks continue with Tana Wojczuk on her new chronicle of America’s first celebrity, Lady Romeo, in conversation with historian Alexis Coe (July 23); Zadie Smith on her timely new essay collection Intimations, in conversation with The New Yorker's Vinson Cunningham (July 27); Princeton University professor Eddie Glaude on his new work Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and its Urgent Lessons for Our Own (August 4); scholar Johanna Fernandez on her book about the Young Lords (August 12); and Peniel Joseph on his latest biography of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X (August 13).

Continuing BPL’s series of virtual story time readings for children, the Library’s summer sessions will focus on children’s books addressing the Black experience in America, including Overground Railroad by Lesa and James Ransome (August 12), Birth of the Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound by Keith Henry Brown (July 29), and A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart by Zetta Elliott (August 5).

BPL’s environmentally focused Green Series also continues this summer featuring virtual conversations with journalist Nina Lakhani on her deeply affecting–and infuriating–portrait of the life and death of courageous indigenous leader Berta Cáceres (August 20); and Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson discussing All We Can Save, a new volume of provocative and illuminating essays from women at the forefront of the climate movement who are harnessing truth, courage, and solutions to lead humanity forward (September 23).

From July through August 31, Brooklyn Public Library together with the New York Public Library and Queens Library systems will also present virtual arts and cultural programs in partnership with 40 New York City cultural institutions through Culture Pass. Building off of the Culture Pass initiative launched in 2018 to provide free passes for library patrons to visit world-renowned NYC museums and cultural institutions, the library-led digital Culture Pass programming allows learners of all ages to stay connected while many of these institutions remain closed to the public due to COVID-19. For the full list of cultural partners and schedule of programs, please visit www.culturepass.nyc/virtual-programs.

A complete calendar of upcoming programs can be found here with information about how to log-in and register for specific events.

BPL Presents’ programming expands upon the Library’s more than 60,000 free programs offered each year. While the Library’s physical services are adjusted to best serve public health needs, BPL continues to provide patrons access to virtual story times with librarians from across the borough, career help through its Business and Career Center, resources for students of all ages, and details on how to ensure all Brooklyn residents participate in the 2020 Census.