As a community, Bedford Stuyvesant is an anchor for the African American and Caribbean American journey in Brooklyn and the nation. Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation has the distinction of being the nation’s first community development corporation, founded in 1967 through the joint agency of intense grassroots activism and the personal initiative of two New York senators of that time – Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Jacob Javits. As an institution, Restoration has made The Center for Arts & Culture (CAC), now RestorationArt, its cultural centerpiece: a convener, incubator, collaborator, and changemaker that has led the charge for artistic excellence, equity, and the preservation of black culture for nearly 50 years.
The Center for Arts & Culture was born out of the desire to create a platform that brings that perspective to the stage, as well as to reflect back to our audiences their stories and the triumph of the human spirit in a community where there were deeply embedded, systemic inequalities of the 1960s and 70s that had a cumulative and persistent negative effect on long-time residents of African descent, particularly those of modest means, as well as their civic, educational and cultural institutions.
Despite these challenges, artists such as Sonia Sanchez, Ruby Dee, Ron K. Brown, Debbie Allen, Laurence Fishburne, Sam L. Jackson and others, who have gone on to internationally renowned careers in the arts, were nurtured on the very stages that are RestorationArt.
Restoration Plaza, home to RestorationArt is considered the town square of Black Brooklyn, a cultural, social and economic asset and anchor of the community.