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Heart of Brooklyn (HOB) is a partnership of the leading cultural institutions located near Grand Army Plaza in central Brooklyn. Founded in 2001 by Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Children's Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Public Library, Prospect Park Alliance, and Prospect Park Zoo, this partnership is dedicated to promoting its unique cultural campus as a "must-see" destination to a diverse audience in Brooklyn and beyond. Heart of Brooklyn encourages tourism and learning by making its world-class collections and historic treasures more visible and accessible. As an integral part of Brooklyn's renaissance, Heart of Brooklyn is committed to strengthening its neighborhoods.
In an effort to fully realize its mission and goals, Heart of Brooklyn (HOB) undertakes educational initiatives, provides services to enhance community access to its member organizations, promotes a cultural tourism initiative to attract new visitors to Brooklyn and its local businesses, and participates in community events to promote civic solidarity as well as the member institutions' cultural treasures. At present, HOB members jointly participate in the following: Brooklyn Cultural Adventures Program (BCAP), an exciting summer day camp for children ages 7-12, remains the signature program of this unique collaboration. BCAP introduces children to educational, cultural, and recreational resources at HOB member institutions through hands-on exploration of the arts, culture, and the sciences. With support from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), HOB also created BCAP After-School to engage youth at the Breukelen Houses, a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residence, in the cultural and artistic programs of HOB's members. BCAP is the recipient of a Nurturing the Children Award from the New York Life Foundation, a Nickelodeon's Parents' Picks Online Award and was recently named a semi-finalist in the national Coming Up Taller awards. To better identify strengths and challenges of the member institutions, HOB has conducted a major longitudinal survey, Multi-Institution Cultural Consumer Study. The feedback of more than 5,000 visitors and other cultural consumers has been instrumental in planning marketing, outreach and education efforts. In response to the Cultural Consumer Study, HOB created the Cultural Calendar, an attractive and easy reference guide to the variety of activities at HOB institutions. HOB also circulates Heartbeat, a monthly e-newsletter, and operates a free shuttle service through The HOB Connection, offering guided tours to connect HOB with Brooklyn's diverse neighborhoods and NYC cultural institutions, as well as routes to include local businesses and merchants. Experience the Heart of Brooklyn, HOB's cultural tourism initiative, is designed to increase tourism and drive tourist spending in Brooklyn. Working with its members and tourism partners, HOB has created themed packages and itineraries to promote at national and international trade shows. In partnership with Brooklyn Tourism and the Office of Borough President Marty Markowitz, HOB developed Brooklyn Pass, a 2-day pass to the borough's top cultural destinations and tourist attractions. Since 2003, HOB has been working on Crown Heights Renaissance, a strategic economic development plan to strengthen the capacity of businesses in Crown Heights. Currently, HOB is a Core Service Provider in the New York City Department of Small Business Services Avenue NYC program, providing planning, business attraction and district marketing services for two commercial corridors in the community. In 2008, HOB won a NYC Clean Streets award, a comprehensive sanitation and maintenance program to keep local commercial corridors clean. Through the power of partnership, Heart of Brooklyn maximizes the expertise of its members to better serve its multi-ethnic Brooklyn community, as well as a broad public. Since the partnership formalized in 2001, Heart of Brooklyn has served as a model for other proposed local partnerships, as well as cultural consortia around the country. Heart of Brooklyn is the recipient of a Neighborhood Builder's Award from the Bank of America, an Encore Award from the Arts & Business Council of New York, and most recently a 2009 Neighborhood Achievement Award from the NYC Department of Small Business Services.
- Sarah Shannon
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