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BAMcafe. Photo by Samantha Samel

An economic report released on Thursday by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP) finds that cultural institutions in the Brooklyn Cultural District and greater Downtown Brooklyn generated nearly $310 million in economic activity in the borough last year.

The report, which analyzed data gathered by the Partnership and the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Alliance from 37 of the area’s 60 cultural institutions – including the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), the Brooklyn Historical Society, and BRIC Arts | Media – shows that the Cultural District institutions drew 4.5 million visitors in 2013.

Talent and production staff that performed or worked at the institutions booked over 8,000 hotel stays in and around Downtown Brooklyn during the same time period, DBP said.

“The Brooklyn Cultural District is fueling a renaissance throughout Downtown Brooklyn,” Tucker Reed, president of DBP said in a statement. “New Yorkers want to live and work near world-class art, culture, and creativity. We are thrilled that Downtown Brooklyn is rapidly becoming New York City’s premier destination for all three. As this report makes clear, our cultural investments are enriching the lives of children throughout Brooklyn and serving as an engine for growth across our borough.”

The report also detailed the increasing number of free educational programming and performances provided to Brooklyn students and families by organizations in the Cultural District. According to statistics provided by the institutions, more than 64,000 Brooklyn children participated in free educational programming in 2013. Among those programs were 3,445 free public performances, 710 free admission programs, and more than 5,000 classroom visits.

$3 Million streetscape investment

As part of the news, DBP also announced a new $3 million streetscape design plan meant to stitch together the Brooklyn Cultural District’s diverse institutions. The design plan, which was recently approved by the New York City Public Design Commission, will bring distinctive lighting, paving, and additional seating and landscaping along Fulton Street, Ashland Place, Lafayette Avenue, and side streets in the area. The first installation of the streetscape design is currently underway at Dermot Company’s 66 Rockwell Place development.

DBP, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, several Brooklyn Cultural District institutions and the architectural firm WXY worked on the plan.

The $3 million investment—half of which will be funded by developers with ongoing projects in the area—builds upon previous investments that were used create new facilities for the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Mark Morris Dance Group, BRIC Arts|Media, UrbanGlass, and the Theatre for a New Audience. New facilities for 651 Arts and the Brooklyn Public Library will be completed over the next several years.

According to the report, more than one-third of the cultural institutions’ overall economic impact can be linked to short and long-term infrastructure improvements made in the area.

For more information, visit www.downtownbrooklyn.com.

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