The New Museum's Ideas City, a Four-Day Festival of Art, Education, & Community Activism, Takes Over Downtown Starting May 1st 

SSPNY Heads Downtown for New Museum's Ideas City, A Four-Day Festival of Art, Education & Activism Starting May 1st

SSPNY caught its first Festival of Ideas for a New City put on by The New Museum just two years ago as dozens of workshops and performances filled the streets with nighttime projections all around Nolita, and inside the New Museum itself.

Two years ago The New Museum organized the great Festival of Ideas For a New City, which included nighttime projections all over Nolita (and all over the New Museum itself), dozens of workshops and performances, and a huge street fair that sprawled throughout the Lower East Side. It was probably my favorite thing that happened in this town that spring. All pictures in this post are from then. I was so disappointed when it didn't materialize last year.

SSPNY was disappointed the show and street fair wasn't out again last year, but beginning May 1st, The New Museum is coming back and having it renamed Ideas City, to welcome back 4 more days of overwhelming things to do and try, at what was conceived as a bi-annual springtime festival.

But now, excellent news, the whole spectacle is back, slightly reconfigured, maybe bigger than before, and renamed Ideas City! Turns out it was conceived as a bi-annual festival in the first place, so it arrives next month exactly on time, starting on Wednesday evening, May 1, and running almost continuously through late Saturday night, May 4. There's no way to see and do it all, and even planning my weekend at Ideas City feels overwhelming--there's SO much going on--so I'm probably going to just show up and wing it. There do seem to be a few must-do, however...

SSPNY will check out the Untapped Capital theme at this years Ideas City, based around under-recognized and utilized resources, and surpluses that must be harnessed as the catalysts for change, introducing Joi Ito, the Director of MIT Media Lab to give the keynote at this years' festival on Wednesday night at Cooper Union's Great Hall. To guarantee access to all workshops and panels, make sure to buy a $50 Festival Pass.

The theme at Ideas City will be Untapped Capital, which the organizers describe as  “under-recognized and underutilized resources and surpluses that can be harnessed as catalysts for change.” It'll be interesting to hear what Joi Ito, Director of MIT Media Lab, has to say about that in his keynote address, on Wednesday night at Cooper Union's Great Hall. Though to ensure attendance there you'll probably need to buy a $50 Festival Pass, which guarantees access to all the workshops and panels.

Most of the Ideas City festival is totally free, including the Saturday night festival-capper, Change of State, where Nuit Blanche New York is going to throw a series of projections onto the New Museum's facade. The Ideas City festival runs from May 1st to the 4th, both organized and anchored by the New Museum on Bowery Street between Stanton and Rivington Streets.

The majority of Ideas City festival is readily accessible, however, with or without a pass, and totally free. Such as the Saturday night festival-capper, Change of State, for which the folks at Nuit Blanche New York are going to once again throw a series of projections onto the New Museum's Bowery facade. The Ideas City biggest draw, Street Fest, goes on all day Saturday, with some 125 “artists, architects, poets, technologists, historians, community activists, entrepreneurs, and ecologists” setting up booths and painting murals and staging all kinds of wild performances along Bowery and its environs. And on Friday night 14 different artists will be re-muralizing those store gates on Bowery, so stop by and say hi on your way home.  

SSPNY lastly checks out by far the biggest draw to Ideas City, the Street Fest, that goes on all day Saturday with 125 different artists, architects, poets, technologist, historians, community activists, entrepreneurs, and ecologists, setting up booths, murals, and stages of all kinds to give you a wild performance along Bowery Street, while on Friday night 14 different artists will be re-muralizing those store gates on Bowery.

The Ideas City festival runs from May 1 to May 4, and is organized and anchored by The New Museum, on Bowery between Stanton and Rivington Streets. For a complete list of Ideas City locations and calender of events, see the massive website, here.   
SSPNY also caught the Idea City's workshops and performances that lined their huge street fair sprawled out across the Lower East Side, which is hands down the coolest thing in the city to check in the Spring.


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