Parsons Takes Over NYC For Its First Art and Design Festival

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Design Festival

A piece by Parsons photography student Samantha Heydt, one of over 1000 students exhibiting work as part of the festival. Courtesy of Samantha Heydt

Last Saturday Parsons The New School for Design kicked off its first ever art and design festival, and with nearly 200 public events taking place across its campus and around New York City what a festival it is! The event runs to May 23, 2011 culminating with a daylong block party on May 21 that will feature a printmaking jam, an interactive fashion photo booth, and musical performances.

“We are opening our doors to the public to showcase the talent found here at Parsons, but also to celebrate the future of art and design,” said Joel Towers, executive dean of Parsons The New School for Design. “The Parsons Festival will comprise a number of exhibitions and installations featuring cutting-edge and critically engaged work in a wide range of disciplines.”

Design Festival

A piece from the 2010 BFA Fine Arts exhibition. This year’s BFA Fine Arts show will be on view in the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center through May 23. © Chris Hyun Choi

Design Festival

A piece by Parsons photography student Ashley Sebok. Courtesy of Ashley Sebok

Design Festival

A piece by Parsons photography student Anthony Iacono. Courtesy of Anthony Iacono

In addition to the Block Party, highlights of the Festival include exhibitions of work by Parsons students, including a large-scale collaboration between Milk Studios and Parsons Photography, projections, screenings, music and art performances, an MFA Fine Arts exhibition at The Kitchen; an exhibition of experimental installations, screenings and an arcade of gaming projects by Design and Technology students at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center.

Other events include a special screening of Somewhere to Disappear, a portrait of the renowned documentary photographer Alec Soth, followed by a conversation with Soth; an exhibition of new furniture concepts by Parsons Product Design students at the Poltrona Frau Showroom during the International Contemporary Furniture Fair; and a exhibition of work by students in Parsons legendary fashion school.

Design Festival

A look by Parsons fashion design student Carmen Chen Wu. Courtesy of Carmen Chen Wu

The DREAM:IN Project, which uses dreams as a portal for exploring sustainability, presented its recent work in Bangalore, India as part of the festival’s many public presentations. Courtesy of the DREAM:IN Project

There also will be several symposia and panel discussions that address topical issues in the field. Scientists, scholars, and technology experts will come together for Transhumanism Meets Design, a symposium on technology’s potential to radically transform the human condition.

For a full calendar of events, visit the Parsons Festival website at