BAM’s new artistic director, David Binder, a former Broadway producer, has only been in office since 2019. Some employees complain that the academy hasn’t gotten into online programming as aggressively as some of their peers since the pandemic blacked out their theaters.
Kaitlyn Chandler, video editor and motion designer at BAM who recently helped organize an administration union, said many employees felt there was a “lack of initiative” during the coronavirus crisis. “Employee morale is down,” said Chandler. “It doesn’t feel like we’re really doing anything.”
Binder said in an email that the academy will announce its spring program next week, which will include outdoor and virtual events. “Throughout this time, I and my team have continued to advocate serving artists and offering residencies and commissions to help develop their work through the pandemic and beyond,” Binder said in the email. “I am very happy and proud to be part of such a committed team here at BAM.”
Wallace praised Binder’s programming and online programs such as the piece by V (formerly Eve Ensler) “This goodness: nurses in their own words”, the public art installation “Let Freedom Ring”, the dance piece “Draw From Within” and Riz Ahmeds ” The Long Goodbye “.
Tom Finkelpearl, New York’s former commissioner for cultural affairs, said he was confident BAM would get back on its feet. “These are consistently exceptionally difficult times for performing arts organizations with the sudden loss of all earned income,” said Finkelpearl. “These difficulties are exacerbated at BAM with the loss of the board and management, but BAM will survive.”
Wallace said BAM had been “remarkably active” during the pandemic and that it was confident of the new interim leaders. “We expect that they will strengthen management in all areas of BAM,” she said, “and form a solid foundation for the next BAM President, who is currently being sought.”
Peter Libbey contributed to the reporting.