Photo: Mike Sheehan
Now entering its 181st year, Green-Wood continues to innovate—expanding and redefining what a cemetery can be. We are constantly finding new ways to serve our community. Education, arts and cultural programming, and an arboretum of over 8,000 trees are just some of what Green-Wood offers to our neighbors and visitors from around the world.
As stewards of 478 acres of greenspace in the middle of urban Brooklyn, we feel a strong sense of responsibility to our community. We are committed to sharing Green-Wood’s beauty, tranquility, and artistry with the public. Most importantly, we are a trusted and permanent place of remembrance for generations to come.
Since 1838 Green-Wood’s home has been south Brooklyn, a dynamic collection of neighborhoods that now holds one of the most diverse constituencies in the world. From Sunset Park to Gravesend one can hear Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Yiddish, and Russian, among other languages. At the same time, as a predominantly low-income, working class, and immigrant region of New York City, south Brooklyn has long been under-resourced in terms of cultural amenities, educational opportunities, workforce development, and greenspace.
To address these resource and community challenges, Green-Wood is undertaking a radical transformation. Founded as a working cemetery, Green-Wood is re-imagining itself as south Brooklyn’s largest cultural institution with a focus on history, nature, and the arts. As part of that transformation, Green-Wood’s arts and culture programming now numbers more than 250 public events annually including evening performances on the grounds, classical music concerts in our catacombs, films, contemporary art installations, and more. Environmental studies and workshops have flourished, particularly with an initiative between Green-Wood and Cornell University to make urban greenspaces more sustainable. For the schools of Brooklyn and beyond, Green-Wood engages students in educational programs. Just under 4,000 students came to Green-Wood in 2018 to learn history in a uniquely experiential way.
To continue and expand our programming, we have embarked upon a campaign for the future of Green-Wood. Our new Education and Welcome Center, including the restoration of the landmarked Weir Greenhouse, will give us critical indoor space for classrooms, workforce development training, high school internships, archives, a research library, and more. Further, it will serve as first stop for hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to Green-Wood every year. As a cultural and educational initiative for Green-Wood, this effort will be funded through our 501(c)(3) organization, The Green-Wood Historic Fund, with a combination of government grants, corporate support, and private philanthropy. We welcome donors who share our bold vision for Green-Wood’s future.
It’s a great privilege to serve as the chairman of this venerable institution. Together with our lot holders, members, donors, and fans, we look forward to Green-Wood continuing to serve and inspire for many years to come.