|Photo by Erin Treib|
I wanted to elaborate, in my own words, on the announcement in today’s New York Times that I have decided to retire from BAM in June 2015.
In 1979 I joined BAM as an assistant in the development department, and in 1999 I succeeded Harvey Lichtenstein as president of the institution. My years at BAM have been remarkable. I was fortunate to work for Harvey for 20 years and then join forces with my dear colleague and professional partner Joseph Melillo, BAM’s executive producer, for the last 15 seasons.
It has been my privilege to work alongside the best staff in the world. They share my passion for our artists, historic venues, and the great borough of Brooklyn, which has evolved so brilliantly during my tenure. I also want to acknowledge the elected officials who believed in BAM and the artists who gave it meaning.
But most of all I’d like to thank you, BAM’s audiences, who trusted us even when the work was unfamiliar and challenging. Some of you stepped up when no one believed a large institution in Brooklyn could thrive. Some of you are new to BAM—and have helped us to continue to expand and pursue ever greater excellence. I salute you all and want to express my gratitude from the bottom of my heart.
Over the next 16 months, I will work closely with our board in the search for a new president. What is of paramount importance is that BAM become an even greater, even stronger institution in the years ahead. We have very exciting plans in the works and your continued support will be crucial to their success.
As for my own plans, I hope to spend more time with my three spectacular granddaughters and with the rest of my family and friends. Professionally, I would like to work on projects that require strategic thinking, and to write and speak about the field of arts and culture and its importance to the well-being and success of great urban destinations.
It has been a great run for me and I look forward to continuing to lead BAM for the coming 16 months—and to being a passionate supporter and audience member for the rest of my life!
Karen Brooks Hopkins