Press Release

Brooklyn Public Library Announces 2020 Spring Season

Brooklyn, NY
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Brooklyn Public Library Presents the 2020 Spring Season Including the Launch of the 28th Amendment Project, Curated Lectures, Performances, and Exhibitions with Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, Best-Selling Author Anand Giridharadas, and Acclaimed Choreographer Bill T. Jones 

2020 Season Highlights Include:

  • 28th Amendment Project, a season-long series of town hall meetings held at library branches, high schools, and prisons to discuss, debate, and propose the next amendment to the United States Constitution—crowd-sourced from the Brooklyn community
  • Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, New York Times best-selling author Anand Giridharadas, and Project Syndicate podcast host Elmira Bayrasli take a deep look at the widening inequality in the United States
  • Choreographer, director, and author Bill T. Jones delivers the fifth BPL-commissioned Message from the Library
  • In Praise of Failure, a season-long exploration of failure as a generative force with BPL’s Creatives-in-Residence in partnership with William Kentridge’s Centre for the Less Good Idea
  • Stars Down to Earth, an exhibition featuring work by Dario Robleto and BPL’s Katowitz Radin Artist-in-Residence Mary Mattingly focused on ecological revitalization
  • The return of Library favorites—A Night of Philosophy and Ideas, Classical Interludes, LitFilm, and the spring semester of University Open Air

During this politically momentous year, Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), one of the largest library systems in the country, today announced its 2020 BPL Presents spring season. Comprised of a series of free cultural and civic programs with leading authors, artists, and community members at its core, the 2020 BPL Presents spring season expands on the Library’s role as a convener and forum for the nearly 2.7 million residents of Brooklyn to explore issues of local, national, and international importance, including social and climate justice.

“This spring, as our country and community engage in discussions of national importance, the Library is committed to facilitating these conversations and providing speakers, resources, and spaces for Brooklynites to tackle issues ranging from the creative process to the state of our democracy,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “We are eager to present a courageous and relevant group of writers, artists, and leaders this season.”

BPL continues to redefine libraries as centers for ideas and exploration through its more than 60,000 free programs each year. Throughout the spring, BPL Presents will host conversations with award-winning authors, artists, and thinkers—including Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, progressive thought-leader Anand Giridharadas, foreign policy expert Elmira Bayrasli, and lauded choreographer Bill T. Jones—along with poetry events, a weekend of concerts by emerging composers, and more.

 “This season we are continuing to work with leading thinkers across disciplines to collectively learn from society’s shortcomings and forge a future that is more sensible, transparent, and collaborative,” said László Jakab Orsós, BPL’s Vice President of Arts and Culture. “Through major programs like the 28th Amendment Project and In Praise of Failure, we hope to bring together communities from across the borough—and beyond—to explore what it means to confront society’s failures and bring about radical change together.”

Following BPL’s fall 2019 program ‘Til Victory is Won, which commemorated the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first slave ship to North America, BPL will launch 28th Amendment Project in spring 2020. This five-month series of town hall meetings is designed to create safe forums for Brooklyn residents to collectively discuss, debate, and propose a 28th amendment to the Constitution of the United States, furthering BPL’s commitment to civic engagement and education, and to listening to the voices of those who have been historically disenfranchised from equal political participation.

Taking place at library branches, high schools, and prisons throughout Brooklyn and the greater New York area, 28th Amendment Project will work with artists, writers, journalists, and activists to lead town hall meetings across the borough. Later in the year “framers” who have been identified and trained by members of the ACLU, the project’s legal advisor, will workshop, edit, and compose a written draft that crystallizes the public sentiments captured in the town halls. The final crowd-sourced text will be printed and distributed at all BPL branches and other public institutions ahead of the November 2020 elections, offering the community an opportunity to reflect on concerns and hopes for the future at this critical time in history.

On February 1, BPL’s celebrated sundown-to-sunrise intellectual marathon, A Night of Philosophy and Ideas, returns with the theme “to live.” Presented in partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, the 12-hour event will feature more than 50 lectures and performances by guests, including Nobel Prize-winning economist Esther Duflo, composer and multimedia artist DJ Spooky, and Big Bang Theory television producer Eric Kaplan. Full details of A Night of Philosophy and Ideas may be found here.

University Open Air (UOA), BPL and Prospect Park Alliance’s forum for foreign-born scholars to share their knowledge and experience with fellow community members—will be taken indoors. For two weeks beginning on February 24, patrons can participate in free classes focusing on African women writers, biodiversity conservation, Chinese poetry, and the intersection of Italian and Albanian culture, taught by professors from countries around the world.

A venue for collaboration and experimentation, the Library will explore the creative process across its dynamic series of programs including In Praise of Failure, presented in partnership with artist William Kentridge’s Johannesburg-based art incubator The Centre for the Less Good Idea. As part of In Praise of Failure, the inaugural cohort of BPL Creatives-in-Residence—who practice disciplines as varied as data visualization, video and performance art, and architecture—will delve deeper into the creative process and explore the value of failure as a generative force through interdisciplinary workshops and public programs for the duration of the spring, culminating in a final performance and exhibition in April 2020.

Award-winning choreographer, dancer, and author Bill T. Jones will deliver BPL’s biannual Message from the Library on Sunday, April 5. The BPL-commissioned address convenes diverse voices in the Library’s safe space to have meaningful dialogue about the most precarious issues of the day.

Ahead of the opening of the Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center in 2020, BPL will host a range of programs for adults and children on climate change at Central Library as part of its ongoing Green Series, a forum for presentations by innovators in environmental conservation and understanding. This spring, the Green Series will include workshops with BPL’s Katowitz Radin Artist-in-Residence Mary Mattingly—exploring the myriad approaches to confronting the climate crisis.

Throughout the upcoming year, BPL Presents will continue its ongoing innovative Library-produced programming, including the 13th season of Classical Interludes, which provides free access to professional-caliber chamber music including Sybarite5 and Cassatt String Quartet with special guest Peter Weitzner; and in March, the return of LitFilm festival.

For more information on events and ticketing, please visit: https://www.bklynlibrary.org/bpl-presents

 

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Central Library Facade. Photo by Gregg Richards. Image courtesy Brooklyn Public Library.

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