BAC Mission and Values
BAC Mission Statement
Baryshnikov Arts Center empowers artists to undertake creative exploration with few constraints. We do so by removing barriers to artistic freedom and providing the resources, facilities, and support necessary for uninhibited creativity to thrive.
Responsiveness – BAC is pioneering, nimble, and flexible and seeks out innovators who experiment in the pursuit of unique artistic expression.
Transformation – We support artists who offer a profound experience and ask us to view the world in a different way.
Freedom – We believe that creating transformative and enduring art requires freedom to take artistic risks and we support artists during that process.
Inclusion – We are open-minded and inclusive in our approach to ensuring opportunity for all.
Diversity – We embrace the differences that shape our worldview and our perspective; we recognize, respect, and value differences among those with whom we work and serve.
Collaboration – We seek to expand and strengthen creative relationships in all forms and ways. We believe in the power of both individual and collective expression.
Stewardship – We are stewards of the resources entrusted to us. Our goal is to follow the highest standards in artistic, management, and governance practices while continuously safeguarding the tradition of artistic freedom.
A Message from BAC
We share in the heartbreak and outrage expressed over the brutal killings of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others. BAC passionately stands in solidarity in the fight against racism and supports the protests of the injustices disproportionately faced by Black and Brown artists and communities.
BAC provides time and space for artists of all identities; it is now our responsibility to amplify the voices that compel us to do the work to create a new America that is more just, equitable, and safe. We are committed to supporting the individuals and organizations contributing to peaceful demonstrations and direct actions. Please follow these links for more information:
BAC Residencies support artists by providing space for creative investigation in all performing arts disciplines: dance, music, theater, multimedia, performance art, or any combination thereof. Each year, BAC hosts up to 20 artists in residence to develop ideas, projects, and collaborations. Support can include use of BAC’s studios and theaters, work-in-progress showings, artist honoraria, and technical and administrative services. BAC Residencies provide a pressure-free environment for artists, who are encouraged to focus on their current priorities without the expectation of delivering a finished product.
BAC collaborates with many organizations and performing arts groups. Among our partners are:
Dance Films Association
French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF)
International Contemporary Ensemble
Irish Arts Center
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
National YoungArts Foundation
Orchestra of St. Luke's
Performance Space New York
Theatre for a New Audience
The Wooster Group
Born 1948 in Riga, Latvia, Mikhail Baryshnikov is considered one of the greatest dancers of our time. After commencing a spectacular career with the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad, he came to the West in 1974, settling in New York City as principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre (ABT). In 1978 he joined New York City Ballet, where he worked with George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. A year later he was appointed artistic director of ABT where, for the next decade, he introduced a new generation of dancers and choreographers. From 1990-2002, Mr. Baryshnikov was director and dancer of the White Oak Dance Project, which he and choreographer Mark Morris co-founded to expand the repertoire and visibility of American modern dance. As an actor he has performed widely on- and off-Broadway, as well as in television and film, receiving a Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk Award nomination for Metamorphosis, and an Academy Award nomination for The Turning Point. Other theatrical productions include Forbidden Christmas or The Doctor and the Patient, Beckett Shorts, In Paris, Man in a Case, The Old Woman, Letter to a Man, and Brodsky/Baryshnikov. Recent projects include NOT ONCE., a cinematic installation developed in collaboration with Jan Fabre and Phil Griffin, and a second theatrical production directed by Latvian director Alvis Hermanis entitled The White Helicopter. He is currently working with director Igor Golyak and the Arlekin Players Theatre on a new adaptation of Chekhov's masterpiece The Cherry Orchard to premiere this summer. In 2005, he launched Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) in New York City, a creative space designed to support multidisciplinary artists from around the globe. Among Mr. Baryshnikov’s many awards are the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Arts, the Commonwealth Award, the Chubb Fellowship, the Jerome Robbins Award, and the Vilcek Award. In 2010, he was given the rank of Officer of the French Legion of Honor, and in 2017 he received Japan’s prestigious Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award in Theatre/Film.
BAC is the realization of a long-held vision by Founder and Artistic Director Mikhail Baryshnikov to build an arts center in New York City that serves as a gathering place for artists from all disciplines. BAC’s opening in 2005 heralded the launch of this mission, establishing a thriving creative space for artists from around the world. Located in the Hudson Yards neighborhood of Manhattan, BAC comprises a total of 20,000 square feet, including the 238-seat Jerome Robbins Theater, the Howard Gilman Performance Space, and four column-free studios. BAC serves approximately 700 artists and up to 22,000 audience members annually through presentations and artist residencies.
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A four-week residency designed to support the creative process by providing artists with resources to develop ideas, projects, and collaborations. The program offers a pressure-free environment for performing artists, who are encouraged to focus on their current priorities without the expectation of delivering a finished work. The BAC Open format, which hosts multiple residencies concurrently in BAC’s studio spaces, provides opportunities for artists across disciplines to meet and exchange ideas. BAC Open concludes in a day of voluntary public studio showings.
A fellowship granted biannually to a dance artist through a fund sponsored by the late BAC Board Member James H. Duffy. The James and Martha Duffy Fellowship provides additional financial support to a selected BAC Space resident artist working in the dance discipline.
The James and Martha Duffy Fellowship was originally created by BAC Board Member James H. Duffy in memory of his wife, Martha Duffy, a former senior editor overseeing coverage of the performing arts and longtime dance critic for Time Magazine. One of the first women to become a senior editor at the magazine, Martha Duffy held that post from 1974 to 1989, joining Time in 1960 as a researcher and progressing to reporter, contributing editor, and associate editor before her promotion to senior editor. She was a senior writer specializing in culture and entertainment news from 1989 until her death in 1997, and was well known as a mentor for young writers. Upon the passing of James H. Duffy, at his request, the Fellowship was renamed the James and Martha Duffy Fellowship. James Duffy was a founding board member of BAC, who believed strongly in ensuring that artists have the time and space to create. We are proud that with this gift their legacy and commitment to creative process will continue to thrive here at BAC.
A two-year residency awarded annually to an artist or artists committed to innovation and collaboration as exemplified by John Cage and Merce Cunningham. The Cage Cunningham Fund awards $50,000 distributed over two years in support of the Fellow’s work. In addition, BAC provides use of the John Cage & Merce Cunningham Studio for eight weeks, as well as significant administrative support for project development.
An expanded residency opportunity for artists to develop projects first at Bogliasco’s facility in the serene coastal Italian environment, and then continue at BAC’s studios in the urban setting of New York City. The Bogliasco Fellowship is offered annually and includes an honorarium as well as use of BAC’s studio spaces.
This residency is for Princess Grace Award winners who are developing projects of a multi-media or interdisciplinary nature. Princess Grace Foundation-USA Works-in-Progress Residents are identified through a panel process and are provided significant funding, exclusive use of a BAC studio or theater space for between one and three weeks, and full technical support.
Jerome Robbins Theater
In 2010, BAC opened the Jerome Robbins Theater, a fixed seating venue with a flat floor stage, a 187-seat orchestra, and a 51-seat balcony. The Wooster Group inaugurated the stage with a remounting of their seminal work from 1983, North Atlantic. The addition of the theater expanded programming, introducing new opportunities for artists to perform larger works of dance, theater, music, and multimedia, and tripling BAC's audience.
The Jerome Robbins Theater is named in recognition of Mikhail Baryshnikov’s lasting friendship and collaboration with Jerome Robbins. Lead support for the theater acquisition and renovation was provided by The Jerome Robbins Foundation.
Howard Gilman Performance Space
The Howard Gilman Performance Space comprises The Danny Kaye & Sylvia Fine Kaye Studio and the Rudolf Nureyev Studio, which are otherwise divided by a retractable sound proof wall. BAC launched public programming there in 2005, with a concert by the Brentano String Quartet presented in a salon setting. This flexible venue has accommodated performances with traditional audience seating as well as diverse configurations.
The Howard Gilman Performance Space is named in honor of Howard Gilman, a philanthropist and long-time friend and supporter of Mikhail Baryshnikov. The Howard Gilman Performance Space was dedicated in November 2006. Lead support for the theater was provided by The Howard Gilman Foundation.
BAC studios range in size from 850 square feet to 3,096 square feet and are completely column-free, with sprung wood floors and ceilings ranging in height from 18 to 20 feet. Large windows provide expansive southern and western views of Manhattan and the Hudson River. The studios are home to BAC’s resident artists throughout the year, and are also available for rent.
The Rudolf Nureyev Studio is named for the legendary dancer Rudolf Nureyev (1938-1993), thanks to the generous support of the Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation.
The John Cage & Merce Cunningham Studio is named in honor of John Cage (1912-1992) and Merce Cunningham (1919-2009) and their contributions to contemporary 20th century art and culture.
Christina Sterner Studio
The Christina Sterner Studio is named for Christina Sterner, Managing Director Emeritus of BAC and White Oak Dance Project.
The Danny Kaye & Sylvia Fine Kaye Studio is named for the great American artists Danny Kaye (1911-1987) and Sylvia Fine Kaye (1913-1991).
BAC Presents is a series of innovative performances by local and international dance, theater, music, and multimedia artists. BAC's spring season runs January through June, and the fall season runs September through December, with performances held in the Jerome Robbins Theater, Howard Gilman Performance Space, and the studios. BAC is dedicated to building audiences for the arts by presenting contemporary work at affordable ticket prices.
Supporting artists is central to BAC's mission. BAC hosts up to 20 residencies a year, providing dance, theater, music, and multimedia artists with the space and resources to research and develop new projects and collaborations. Artists are free to explore their creative endeavors, with BAC staff available to provide administrative and technical support.
BAC After School
BAC After School is a free arts education program for students from New York City public high schools. Students nominated by teachers from partner schools engage in production workshops in BAC’s theater spaces, and write critical responses to performances they attend at BAC and other venues such as Danspace Project, New York Live Arts, HERE Arts Center, and The Public Theater.
Through its rental program, BAC serves as an important resource for the artistic community by helping to meet the need for affordable rehearsal space in New York City. BAC offers subsidized rehearsal rentals to nonprofit dance companies starting at $10 per hour through New York State Council on the Arts and Dance/NYC's New York City Dance Rehearsal Space Subsidy Program, made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. BAC also provides reduced rate rentals to nonprofit dance, theater, music, and multimedia artists and companies.
Photo by Maria Baranova
Photos: Maria Baranova, Stephanie Berger
Photos: Richard Beenen, Francis Dzikowski/Esto Courtesy of H3 Architecture
© The Japan Art Association / The Sankei Shimbun
Photos: Maria Baranova, Richard Beenen, Stephanie Berger, Anna Lee Campbell