As the temperatures drops, activity around the park seems to slow down just enough to give us a moment to reflect on the past year and all that we accomplished. 2017 was a tremendous year for FGPC— we hired an additional full-time staff person, took on a team of two fantastic interns to support our summer programming, and welcomed two NYC Service Civic Corps Members in the fall to lead and grow our volunteer efforts during their ten-month term of service. In our final stretch of the year, we are planning for a monumental 2018 and cannot wait to share all we have planned for the year ahead. Before we get there, we want to reflect on five things that made 2017 incredible:
1. Art in the Park
Two public art projects opened in Fort Greene Park this year. First, Circadia by Blythe Cain opened in the plaza at Myrtle Avenue and Washington Park. A large concrete sculpture with waves that mimic nature’s circadian rhythms, Circadia has provided much needed seating to the plaza since it opened in June. Circadia was made possible thanks to the UNIQLO Parks Expressions grant administered by NYC Parks and will be on display through May 2018.
Later in the summer, the Conservancy partnered with neighborhood glass artist Amanda Patenaude to produce a mosaic composed of found glass from the park collected with the help of volunteers. One Map of Many Moments is a mosaic map of the park with drawings and texts submitted by visitors and community members. Read more about the mosaic on a previous post.
2. Weekend Wellness
Thanks to Blythe’s Circadia, we were able to provide free weekly yoga classes on the Monument Plaza from late-June through mid-October. Our Saturday Yoga in the Park series saw upwards of 50 regular attendees every single week starting off their Saturday mornings in the park, finding some true peace after the full week of work.
We rounded off the weekend with Tai Chi workshops on Sundays. Led by two Fort Greene residents, Sunday morning Tai Chi brought people of all ages together for a morning of meditation and movement.
3. More Kids Concerts
As always, our Music in the Grove: Kids Concerts series had hundreds of kids and caretakers flocking to our shows again on Wednesday mornings, shattering attendance records. In addition to the seven Wednesday Kids Concerts we have hosted for the past six years, this year we added two Sunday shows to the summer season. Throughout our nine shows this summer, 5,600 kids and adults enjoyed an hour of upbeat live music in the park provided by some of Brooklyn’s finest local “Kindie” acts.
4. Bigger and Better Annual Events
As the Conservancy approaches it’s 20th anniversary next year, there are several annual events that have become staples of our programming calendar. Our biggest event, the Fort Greene Park Halloween Festival, was bigger and better than ever. This year we added new activities, more giveaways, and food trucks to the jam-packed afternoon to make Fort Greene’s favorite holiday better than ever.
Another one of our annual events, the Fort Greene Park Jazz Festival, drew in record number of people for both our July and September shows. Organized in partnership with Eric Frazier, jazz in the park has never sounded so good. This year, we were also able to provide the festival with special funding support from the Brooklyn Arts Council.
5. A New Membership Program
This time last year we asked Santa for a great year of membership, Following the launch of our program in May, we got just what we wished for. In June we hosted our first members summer picnic and have given away $100 gift certificates generously donated from local businesses to 10 of our members. We can’t thank our members enough for your support, and we are excited to see the program grow and continue building upon the success of this year.
What can you expect in 2018? More public artwork will be coming to the park following Circadia through NYC Parks and UNIQLO Parks Expressions grant. Yoga and Tai Chi will return in the spring and run through the fall. We plan on adding another Sunday Kids Concert and a brand new performing arts series that will be announced in the spring. Fort Greene Park Jazz Festival will be back again, and bigger than ever before, and you can bet there will be new surprises for Halloween in 2018. However, we won’t be able to make this a reality without you and hope you will support these great successes and join our 2018 celebrations by becoming a Fort Greene Park Conservancy member.
Wishing you and your loved ones Happy Holidays,
Outreach and Development Manager
Fort Greene Park Conservancy
P.S. Don't forget to bring your holiday tree to on Myrtle Ave & Washington Park by January 6 and 7 for MulchFest 2018. Stop by the plaza on Saturday, January 6 between 10am-2pm for free hot cider and coffee provided by Greene Grape!