February 17, 2018

Is Brooklyn’s Visual and Performing Arts Library in Doubt?

By LJ Staff

A report in Crain’s New York Business suggests that the Brooklyn Public Library’s (BPL) Enrique Norten-designed Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) library, planned since 2002, is on the rocks due to cost increases. The library, aimed to be part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Cultural District, was announced as a $75 million project during the administration of director Martín Gómez, with an opening expected this year. Now, two directors later, with BPL in the midst of a project for a new auditorium at the Central Library, the price tag for the VPA has gone up to $135 million. "Each year the costs to build it increase, and it’s out of our reach," an "insider" told Crain’s.

Asked for comment, BPL spokeswoman Stefanie Arck told LJ, "BPL’s goal is to deliver free resources and programs to all Brooklynites, and the VPA would allow us to meet that objective via bringing existing and new services…. Since Dionne Mack-Harvin was appointed to her post of executive director just a month ago, she’s looking at re-prioritizing projects for the system, including the VPA. So, while at this time we do not have the funds needed to build the VPA as designed, we are still evaluating options for raising the necessary money, including seeking partners to assist in financing."