In celebration of Black History Month, the public plaza fronting 300 Ashland Place in Downtown Brooklyn will feature a temporary outdoor theatre with programming from local artists and creators. Presented in collaboration by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Van Alen institute, Soft-Firm, and Two Trees Management, “Drive Thru” launched February 17 and will culminate in a live finale performance on April 13.
Soft-Firm, the studio that oversaw design and activation of the temporary theatre, drew inspiration from classic drive-in movie venues. By incorporating light through rear projection, Drive-Thru will be visible by pedestrians in the plaza and from the buzzing intersection of Flatbush and Lafayette Avenues.
Drive-Thru will showcase film and video by eight Brooklyn-based artists and filmmakers. Selected works focus on the life and legacy of communities in Brooklyn and connect to Black History Month and Women’s History Month themes. Live performances will be held to complement a selection of the featured films, starting with a Black History Month celebration event on February 23.
The inaugural event on February 17 featured “Community: Rhythm / Movement / Joy,” a film from Ali Santana that captured the wildly popular Dance Africa Street Bazaar from the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).
“Our latest public art installation, Drive-Thru, builds on DBP’s mission to connect people through the power of shared spaces, storytelling, and public art,” said president of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership Regina Myer. “Supporting local artists is at the core of our vision for the Plaza and by bringing diverse voices and perspectives to the forefront of the public realm, Drive-Thru exemplifies how individual experiences can become shared when viewed as a community.”
Drive-Thru is the latest in a series of public art installation at the 300 Ashland Place plaza. Since 2017, the plaza’s free outdoor public arts program has included film screenings, concerts, live performances, dance and fitness classes, readings, community gatherings, and more.
Notable past works include an illuminated, interactive fairy circle from artist Ekene Ijeoma. Titled “Breathing Pavilion,” the installation featured nearly two dozen 30-foot-tall columns with modulating light designed to simulate a deep breathing technique.
“Public spaces are most alive when they’re sites of storytelling,” said Deborah Marton, executive director, Van Alen Institute. “With this elegant portal into Brooklyn’s voices, cultures, and histories, Soft-Firm’s installation Drive-Thru shows the human connections that become possible in the spaces where our shared lives unfold.”
A full schedule of future films and live events at Drive-Thru is now viewable on Downtown Brooklyn Partnership’s website.