The Brooklyn art and culture scene is vibrant, diverse, and exciting just like the borough itself. You’ll find artist-run spaces, theaters where the world’s most esteemed actors, musicians, and performers take center stage, as well as important historical sites. But when it comes to choosing where to get your next fix, Brooklyn’s vast artistic landscape can be overwhelming even for the most seasoned culture seeker. Here are six places to check out when you want to explore the Brooklyn art and culture scene.
The Brooklyn Art Library, 28 Frost St
Located in Williamsburg, the Brooklyn Art Library houses The Sketchbook Project, an ambitious endeavor that has united the work of artists from all over the world. More than 70,000 artists have contributed their art-filled sketchbooks to the project since its birth in 2006. Spend an afternoon exploring the library’s astounding sketchbook collection of bounded portals that open up new worlds of imagination. Want to see a book about whales? No problem, each item is catalogued with searchable details like artist, origin, and tags making it easy to find any subject that piques your curiosity.
Pioneer Works, 159 Pioneer St
Founded by artist Dustin Yellin, Pioneer Works is an incubation site that fosters cultural dialogues across various disciplines including art, performance, music, science, and education. Visitors get to experience work by contemporary art and culture’s most innovative thinkers through dynamic exhibitions, events, and educational programs. While big, complex ideas run rampant here, the organization aims to be a place that is welcoming and accessible to all who enter. The main space and artist-in-residency studios are free and open to the public Wednesday through Sunday. from 12 to 6 p.m.
Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts, 2900 Campus Rd
Since 1954, the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts has been celebrating the diverse communities that make Brooklyn unique and culturally vibrant. Performances and educational programs aim to enrich the lives of young people through the arts while hosting world-class artists and companies at affordable ticket prices. Legends who have performed here include Luciano Pavarotti, Gregory Hines, Ray Charles, Martha Graham, and Les Ballet Africains to name a few.
Green-Wood Cemetery, 500 25th St
Established in 1838 and now a National Historic Landmark, Green-Wood Cemetery was one the first rural cemeteries in the US. Behind the cemetery’s stunning Gothic revival north entrance lies 478 acres of breathtaking landscape steeped with history and culture. For free, visitors can walk the peaceful grounds taking in the natural splendor, sculpture, and architecture. History buffs should check out the Battle of Brooklyn, a yearly event commemorating the first battle of the American Revolution fought after signing the Declaration of Independence, which took place on Green-Wood’s land in 1776.
BRIC – Brooklyn Information & Culture, 647 Fulton St
BRIC’s mission is to make cultural programming available to everyone with a year-round calendar chock-full of events spotlighting contemporary art, performance, dance, music, multi-disciplinary, and film. And every summer, city residents look forward to the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, a free, outdoor cultural extravaganza. Talib Kwali, Philip Glass, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, They Might Be Giants, and Mark Morris Dance Company head a diverse list of past performers.
St. Ann’s Warehouse, 45 Water St
Starting as a performance institution in the Church of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity on Montague Street, St Ann’s Warehouse currently resides in a former tobacco building in DUMBO. Brooklyn’s premier site for groundbreaking cultural programming, St. Ann draws established and emerging artists from all over the world to its stage and studios. Ireland’s Druid Theater and England’s Kneehigh Theater and Donmar Warehouse have produced plays here; past performers include David Byrne, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Debbie Harry, and Marianne Faithful.