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June 29, 2011

In Alliance, Nets Arena to Offer Arts

The New York Times
by Melena Ryzik

The munificent Bruce Ratner is going to give the people culture along with sub-par basketball.

It’s been a springboard for Brooklyn nostalgia, a debate about urban design and the politics of eminent domain and, depending on your perspective or basketball affiliation, a community uniter or divider. Now Atlantic Yards, the development that will bring the New Jersey Nets to downtown Brooklyn, will also be a cultural center.

The Barclays Center, the 18,000-seat arena at the heart of the project, will host performances by artists selected by the Brooklyn Academy of Music in a programming alliance between the two neighboring institutions, their directors said. The collaboration will include three or four shows a year and allow the academy to bring to Brooklyn work that would not fit into its theaters — the largest of which has 2,000 seats — with costs underwritten by the arena.

And since the taxpayers are underwriting the arena, ergo, the costs will be underwritten by the taxpayers.

“I always like to put things that are a little bit ironic together,” Bruce C. Ratner, the chairman and chief executive of Forest City Ratner Companies, the developer of the arena, said in an interview Tuesday.

Like Jobs, Housing & Hoops, perhaps?

Karen Brooks Hopkins, the academy’s president, said in a telephone interview that Mr. Ratner “called me and said that he really was hoping that this arena would be different from every arena, from the basic commercial fare.” She said she expects the performances to be “on a very large scale, large nouvelle cirque kind of work, big dance kind of things, music.”

Ms. Brooks Hopkins would not specify the artists the academy was considering for the Barclays Center, except to say that they would be culled by the academy’s executive director, Joseph V. Melillo, from around the globe. “I know that he has seen a number of large-scale works in Asia that he is very enthusiastic about,” she said, adding that, in an effort to fill seats, “we’re not married to one aesthetic or one point of view or even one audience demographic.”


NoLandGrab: What a coincidence! Bruce saw a number — 498, to be exact — of large-scale ($500,000 each) investors in Asia, that he is very enthusiastic about.

Posted by eric at June 29, 2011 7:41 PM