The new Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center in Brooklyn, NY is a collaboration between the former professional dancer, Dwana Smallwood, and the Oprah Winfrey Foundation. Celebrating the study of dance in early childhood, the center works to build confidence through dance education and foster a new generation of elite professional dancers from the community of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, NY. With the help of Jordan Parnass, the center was able to embrace the artistic flair, and simple, elegant design that makes the dancers the centerpiece and inspiration for the interiors. The initial design process incorporated a series of dance studies where the choreography of dancers was used to inspire direct abstraction through the flow of space inside. The entrance to the center displays a bold orange awning that imitates the dramatic flair of energy. The reception opens up into a colorful library that provides a warm atmosphere and comfortable seating. The larger dance stage is fitted with blackout curtains for when it's performance time for the community, which often exhibits a variety of performances by different community groups. The overall transformation of this industrial space into a creative and dynamic center for performing arts has surpassed even Dwana Smallwood's expectations. Today, the center is home to girls in ballet slips and is a central creative hub for the Bedford-Stuyvesant community and beyond.
Location Brooklyn, NY
Architect Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture
Project Team A Degree of Freedom, EP Engineering, Supreme General Contracting
2017 AIANY Design Awards