Brooklyn arts groups to move into historic theater

By Jovana Rizzo | July 21, 2008 02:42PM

Two Brooklyn cultural organizations will expand by moving into the newly restored historic theater in the Brooklyn Academy of Music Cultural District in Fort Greene.

The Strand Theatre, a vaudeville theater built in 1918 at 647 Fulton Street between Ashland and Rockwell places, will undergo a $17.3 million conversion for BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn and UrbanGlass.

BRIC will be given 20,000 square feet of program space, including an art gallery and a media screening room for Brooklyn Community Access Television (BCAT).

UrbanGlass, a center for glass artists, will relocate its gallery and retail space to street level at the Strand, with a walk-in glass workshop. UrbanGlass already has space on the third floor of the building.

Brooklyn’s Leeser Architecture is designing the project, and construction is expected to start in 2009 and finish in 2010.

Funding for the project is coming from the Mayor’s Office, the Brooklyn Borough President’s office and the city council.

With BRIC and UrbanGlass moving in, the Strand is returning to its artistic roots, and will expand the BAM Cultural District. After its run as a performance theater, the Strand became a cinema, then a bowling alley and most recently three floors of manufacturing.

“We are delighted that the Strand will once again be fully devoted to the arts,” said Leslie Schultz, executive director of BRIC. “Right now we have a small theater, and a $7 million television studio in the building, as well as our offices. With the expansion, we will have two top quality performance spaces, a museum-quality 3,500-square-foot contemporary art gallery, and greatly expanded media facilities.”

The Mitchel Mark Realty Corporation built the Strand Theater, as well as another theater of the same name in Manhattan.