Common opens the 40th BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival

Common opens the 40th BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival

Common opens the 40th BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival

Park Slope

Grammy Award-winning actor and musician Common will open the 40th annual BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival with a free concert on June 5 at the Prospect Park Bandshell, marking the first event in a yearlong celebration to cap off four decades for the pioneering NYC arts-and-media organization and leading presenter of free cultural programming in Brooklyn. Preceding the concert will be a gala honoring outgoing BRIC President Leslie Griesbach Schultz for her 13 years of transformational leadership.

Since its inception in 1979, BRIC has hosted a diverse range of magnetic performers across musical disciplines to kick off its beloved summer festival—including in recent years the electrifying Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings in one of her final concerts, “Queen of Funk” Chaka Khan, cultural luminary David Byrne, reggae icon Jimmy Cliff and pop innovator Janelle Monáe—and this year’s season begins with a brilliantly boundary-pushing artist who’s no stranger to a multitude of genres and forms. From his debut album, Can I Borrow a Dollar?, to his most recent, Black America Again, Common has become a radically influential force across hip-hop, R&B, and pop, as well as within the film and TV industry, where he’s starred in, soundtracked, and produced innumerable projects.

Prior to the free concert, BRIC will host the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival Opening Night Gala, proudly honoring BRIC’s own Leslie Griesbach Schultz. Since 2005, Schultz has helped BRIC grow from $3.7 million to $15.8 million in annual operating revenues; led the transformation of BRIC from an umbrella for largely discrete arts and media programs in disparate locations into a leading, high-impact institution in an award-winning new facility in Downtown Brooklyn; vastly expanded BRIC’s programming, education initiatives and community-engagement work; strengthened BRIC’s commitment to providing support and resources for Brooklyn artists and media-makers; and advanced workplace equity and diversity.

Hilary Ackermann, Chair of the BRIC Board of Directors, said: “Leslie has been a driving force behind the growth of BRIC and its expanding role as a leader in the New York City cultural landscape. BRIC would not be where it is today, were it not for Leslie's stewardship. The Board is thrilled for the opportunity to honor her extraordinary legacy among BRIC’s closest friends and partners.”

Gala tickets, starting at $500, can be purchased online at www.BRICartsmedia.org/cb or by contacting Marion Carr at 718.683.5637 or mcarr@bricartsmedia.org. The proceeds provide vital funds that help keep BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival programming free and accessible to everyone. Following the concert, gala guests and Friends of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival (i.e. members) are invited to the Opening Night After-Party featuring Brooklyn’s own, DJ Spinna.

An Academy, Golden Globe, Emmy and three-time Grammy Award-winning actor and musician, Common continues to break down barriers with a multitude of critically acclaimed and diverse roles, along with continued success at the box office. In 2015, he appeared in the Oscar-nominated film Selma about the civil rights marches that changed America. Alongside John Legend, he won the Academy Award and Golden Globe for the song “Glory,” which was featured in the film.

In 2016, Common appeared in the David Ayer’s high profile comic book movie, Warner Bros’ Suicide Squad. Shortly after, he starred in the highly anticipated sequel John Wick: Chapter 2; Judy Greer’s directorial debut, A Happening of Monumental Proportions, with Allison Janney; and Bleecker Street’s Megan Leavey. He recently wrapped production on The Hate U Give, directed by George Tillman Jr. and based on the Angela Thomas' novel of same name. Next up, Common stars in Andrea Di Stefano’s action-thriller, Three Seconds, and also lends his voice to Warner Brothers’ upcoming animated feature Smallfoot. Behind the scenes, Common currently serves as an executive producer of Showtime’s new TV series “The Chi,” a coming-of-age story set in Chicago from writer Lena Waithe.

He released his 11th studio album, Black America Again, in 2016. The album includes socially conscious single “Black America Again” featuring Stevie Wonder, and the anthem “Letter to the Free,” the end-title track to Ava Duvernay’s powerful Oscar-Nominated documentary 13TH, for which he also received the 2017 Emmy for “Best Music and Lyrics.” After collaborating on the album, Common, Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins joined together to form supergroup August Greene. The trio made their live debut in January 2018 at New York’s Highline Ballroom as part of Glasper’s annual Grammy Awards party and will release their first joint album on March 9th through Amazon Music. Common was most recently featured on Andra Day‘s song “Stand Up for Something,” which he co-wrote with Diane Warren and can be heard in the 2017 film Marshall. The song received Oscar, Grammy, NAACP, and Critics’ Choice Award nominations, as well as the “Hollywood Song Award” at the 2017 Hollywood Film Awards.

Of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, Billboard writes, “In the crowded summer festival season, BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! stands apart.” Since it began in 1979 as a catalyst for a burgeoning Brooklyn performing arts scene, and to bring people back into Prospect Park after years of neglect, the Festival has become one of the city’s foremost summer cultural attractions. Winner of the Village Voice Readers’ Poll and Critics’ Picks for “Best Free Concert Series,” BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival is New York City’s longest-running summer outdoor performance festival. Over its 39-year history, the Festival has presented more than 2,000 artists, drawing a diverse audience upwards of 200,000 each season. Time Out New York writes, “Catching one of these gigs is guaranteed to be a highlight of your summer show-going season, whether you're seeing a buzzy indie-rock band, a classic soul or funk group, or one of the best hip-hop artists around.”

Friends of BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival season memberships are also available now, for as little as $60, and include perks all summer long. Benefits of membership include express entry, access to reserved seating and member tents with food and beverage service, pre-sales for benefit concerts, and more. Friends memberships can be purchased online at www.BRICartsmedia.org/cb or by contacting BRIC at 718.683.5636 or membership@BRICartsmedia.org.

 

About BRIC and the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival

BRIC is the leading presenter of free cultural programming in Brooklyn, and one of the largest in New York City. The organization presents and incubates work by artists and media-makers that reflects the diversity of New York. BRIC programs reach hundreds of thousands of people each year.

BRIC’s main venue, BRIC House, offers a public media center, a major contemporary art exhibition space, two performance spaces, a glass-walled TV studio and artist work spaces.

Some of BRIC’s most acclaimed programs include the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival in Prospect Park; groundbreaking media initiatives, including BRIC TV, BRIC Radio, and Brooklyn Free Speech; and renowned contemporary art exhibitions. BRIC also offers education and community-building programs at BRIC House and throughout Brooklyn.

In addition to making cultural programming genuinely accessible, BRIC is dedicated to providing substantial support to artists and media makers in their efforts to develop work and reach new audiences. BRIC is unusual in both presenting exceptional cultural experiences and nurturing individual expression. This dual commitment enables BRIC to most effectively reflect New York City’s innate cultural richness and diversity.

The BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival is BRIC’s flagship performing arts program. Unlike the multi-stage destination festival scene, the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival is a free, summer-long experience allowing New Yorkers to come back again and again with their friends and family to appreciate or discover a new genre, acclaimed artist, or world culture each night of the Festival. During its 40-year run, the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival has presented celebrated global music icons, legendary jazz artists, chart-topping indie bands, gravity-defying dance troupes, large-scale film projects and even a virtual reality performance, becoming one of the city's foremost cultural attractions and a beloved summer tradition.

From its very first performance in summer of 1979, the mission of the Festival has been to bring Brooklyn together in a safe, harmonious setting. These free experiences at the Prospect Park Bandshell enhance our quality of life and understanding of the world by illuminating the vibrant cultures that make our borough so unique. The Festival curatorial team especially values the use of artistic platforms to reaffirm the very basis of what Brooklyn and America is—a welcoming, supercollider of ideas and cultures, informing and enriching each other.