NEW YORK, NY.-
The Festival of Ideas
for the New City is a major new collaborative initiative involving scores of Downtown organizations, from large universities to arts institutions and community groups, working together to affect change. The Festival is a first for New York and harnesses the power of the creative community to imagine the future city and explore the ideas destined to shape it. It takes place from May 4-8, 2011, in locations around Downtown Manhattan in an area spanning East to West including the Lower East Side, the East Village, Soho, Nolita, and Chinatownand serves as a platform for artists, writers, architects, engineers, designers, urban farmers, planners, and thought leaders to exchange ideas, propose solutions, and invite the public to participate.
The Festival of Ideas for the New City was initially conceived by the New Museum three years ago as a natural outgrowth of its ongoing commitment to public education and civic outreach. The concept quickly attracted a core group of Downtown Organizing Partners who have met regularly over the past two years. The eleven Organizing Partners are: The Architectural League; Bowery Poetry Club; C-Lab/ Columbia University; Center for Architecture; The Cooper Union; The Drawing Center; New Museum (Founding Partner); New York University Wagner; PARC Foundation; Storefront for Art and Architecture; and Swiss Institute. Together, the Organizing Partners reached out to hundreds of other groups and organizations to participate in the Festival.
The Festival of Ideas for the New City is organized around three central programs:
A three-day slate of symposia, lectures, and workshops with visionaries and leadersincluding exemplary mayors, forecasters, architects, artists, economists, and technology expertswho will address the four broad Festival themes: The Heterogeneous City; The Networked City; The Reconfigured City; and The Sustainable City. These events take place at The Cooper Union, New York University, and the New Museum from Wednesday to Saturday, May 4-7.
An innovative, minimal-waste, outdoor StreetFest takes place along the Bowery. More than seventy-five local grassroots organizations, small businesses, and non-profits present model products and practices in a unique outdoor environment. The Festival premieres a new environmentally inspired tent module commissioned for the Festival, as well as outdoor living rooms and inflatable structures. Visitors can expect cooking demonstrations with urban farmers, rooftop gardening classes, oral history projects, bike tours and valets, and a variety of affordable and healthy, locally grown, sustainable food options. The StreetFest takes place on Saturday, May 7, 11 a.m to 7 p.m.
Over a hundred independent projects, exhibitions, and performances, which expand on the Festivals themes, open at multiple festival partner venues Downtown, activating a broad geographic area. Projects include a solar powered mobile art studio; artist-commissioned rolldown, metal storefront gates; projections of poems in endangered languages on Lower East Side buildings; a prototype of an urban campground; a marathon event where architects will present their ideas about reconfiguring public space in a rapid fire format; an exhibit exploring the political, economic and social relevance of preservation and its role in architectural thinking; and a wide range of other activities exploring ideas for the future. These events open Saturday evening, May 7, and Sunday, May 8.
Among the questions to be addressed through Festival programs are: What makes the city worth living in? How can we encourage and preserve the positive qualities of the city? How can technology be used to improve city life? Are there places or elements of the city that can be repurposed and re-imagined to serve new needs and populations? When we talk about sustainability, what do we mean? And, what can each of us do to contribute to a healthy, diverse, equitable, tolerant, innovative and fun place to live? Above all, how are the creative arts crucial to the above and how can they move conversation forward?