Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Thank you and farewell—A message from Karen Brooks Hopkins
Today is my last day at BAM after 36 years of service in many different capacities, including the last 16 years as president. During my tenure, we have added many programs, built new facilities, quadrupled the size of our audience and budget, and played a key role in the revitalization of our beloved Brooklyn.
I am so proud to have worked with a generous and committed Board of Trustees, led by Alan Fishman, Adam Max, and Bill Campbell, and the BAM Endowment Trust, headed by Tim Ingrassia. In addition, I salute a brilliant and hardworking staff, including my dear partner, BAM’s Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo, and former president, Harvey Lichtenstein. Our donors, many of whom believed in BAM when it was the punchline of a Brooklyn joke, have transformed the institution through their generous support. And through it all, the elected officials from the Borough of Brooklyn and the City of New York, including the Borough President and Mayor’s Office, the City Council, and the Department of Cultural Affairs have been true partners in assuring a bright future for BAM.
Running a cultural institution with such diverse programs—in music, dance, theater, opera, film, visual art, and humanities—and so many constituents—from teachers and students, to artists, to seniors, toddlers, teenagers, and adults—is both complicated and exhilarating. Every choice is fraught with financial considerations, programming alternatives, and workload.
But at the end of the day, this is the best job on the planet. For 36 years, I have been privileged to live in the community of the arts—a special and magical place where the creative churn of ideas, passion, and expression bubble up to illuminate our lives. What else but the arts energizes education, generates tourism, builds community, celebrates great collections and architecture, and endures from century to century as mankind’s finest achievement?
BAM is, as our mission states, the home for adventurous artists, audiences, and ideas. It certainly has been my home and I hope that you share that experience.
It is a bittersweet moment as I move on to new endeavors but the work on our stages and screens and the exciting new venues here in the Brooklyn Cultural District are forever in my heart.
I wish my successor Katy Clark the very best of luck and I thank you for this extraordinary journey.
Karen Brooks Hopkins