Porch light is on for new director

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Let’s give a Brooklyn cheer to Charlotte Cohen, the newly appointed executive director of the Brooklyn Arts Council.

Chairman Dr. Thomas Schutte let Standing O know that Charlotte will be hopping aboard and will succeed Ella Weiss, who is retiring after 16 faithful years of service.

Charlotte, a third-generation Brooklynite who has worked with the federal government, the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Smithsonian Institution, brings loads of experience with her when she takes the reins next month.

Dr. Schutte had fond parting words for the predecessor and admiration for the successor.

“Ella leaves big shoes to fill, but Charlotte brings a wealth of invaluable experiences to this new role and a strong connection to artists and the arts,” he said. “Thanks to her commitment to public service, and her rich experience of more than 30 years as an accomplished administrator in the field of contemporary art she will be a great asset to the council.”

Charlotte was sad to see Ella go, but happy to be on board.

“Ella Weiss has been an extraordinary leader who helped shepherd Brooklyn’s cultural renaissance over the last 16 years,” she said. “I am deeply honored to carry on her mission to support and strengthen the borough’s thriving and ever-evolving cultural life, and to ensure that everyone has access to it.”

Weiss added her own farewell and good wishes.

“It’s been exciting, rewarding, and immensely gratifying to be part of such a trailblazing organizati­on.” she said. “It’s my belief that Charlotte will enrich and continue my legacy of keeping Brooklyn alive with art.”

Standing O offers good luck to Charlotte and a happy retirement to Ella.

Brooklyn Arts Council [55 Washington St. # 218 and Front Street in Dumbo, (718) 625–0080].

Bedford Stuyvesant

Landmark decision

The Bridge Street African Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal Church can now restore its entrance-way, thanks to a generous $1,500 grant from Standing O good friend the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

The church was one of more than 23 religious sites granted the funds.

“Religious institutions are often the most beautiful and complex buildings in their communities,” said conservancy president Peg Breen. “We are pleased to be able to help preserve these important institutions for their architecture, history and community service.”

Founded in 1818, the African Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal Church was the first Methodist church serving solely African-Americans in Brooklyn, and a participant in the underground railroad during the Civil War. The cornerstone was laid in 1890, and the present church, constructed in 1907-1908, was designed by Brooklyn architects Woodruff Leeming and Chester Hughes Kirk, and incorporated the earlier chapel in the new, larger building, with a new buff brick and limestone facade.

The house of worship is an important part of the community, sponsoring civic meetings addressing social, economic, educational, health care, and other concerns in the Bedford-Stuyvesant community. It also houses several outreach programs, including the Bridge Street After School Tutorial Center, the AME Missionary Free Food Program, and Habitat for Humanities in Brooklyn Projects.

Standing O sends thanks from the Borough of Churches to the Conservancy for helping to preserve this beautiful Brooklyn institution.

Bridge Street African Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal Church [277 Stuyvesant Ave. and Hancock Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant, (718) 452–3936].

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Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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