Free art exhibitions and programs are not what you would expect to find within the stately buildings of Manhattan’s financial district. However, more office workers and visitors find themselves enjoying surprise performances by artists such as Mr. Taka Kigawa. The acclaimed pianist treated his audience to a number of Debussy’s Preludes in the lobby of 1 Liberty Plaza. This building is situated near Wall Street and is owned by a real estate corporation, Brookfield Office Properties.
In 1988, the corporation created a cultural branch called Arts Brookfield. Today, the organization is run by Debra Simon, a former dancer who cultivated years of experience in cultural planning and marketing at the Alliance for Downtown New York. Ever since its establishment, Brookfield Office Properties have earned a reputation as a key player for the integration of art and business.
Arts Brookfield spends approximately $1 million per year for the production of their free dance, theatrical, musical, and visual exhibitions set against the backdrop of their New York office buildings. In addition to this local program, Arts Brookfield also operates sister programs in Toronto, Calgary, Denver, Houston, and Los Angeles. The additional spending comes up to $2 million dollars. Altogether, the programs present about 400 free events annually for an audience of about 350,000 people.