DUMBO Arts Festival, still fresh after 18 years, draws thousands to Brooklyn waterfront

Event continues Sunday

September 28, 2014 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Hungry March Band at the DUMBO Arts Festival 2014. Photo by Mary Frost
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Thousands of art lovers and fun-seekers have been packing DUMBO’s streets, studios and galleries for this weekend’s DUMBO Arts Festival 2014, which continues on Sunday, Sept. 28 from noon to 6 p.m.

Zany processions, artists wearing “backpack galleries” and performers of all stripes roam the streets under and around the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, while video, visual art and interactive pieces fill the galleries and the many nooks and crannies of DUMBO.

The festival, now in its 18th year, attracts 200,000 visitors, according to organizers, with the participation of over 400 artists, 100 DUMBO studios and dozens of galleries.

 A new festival lounge houses a number of interactive attractions, such as “Assumptions 1,” a piece by Jayanthi Moorthy. Visitors are asked to write their assumptions on slips of paper and slide them into a box. The assumptions are then projected over a colorful background.

“They are staring at me,” read one assumption. Another said, “No one cares.”

 In another interactive piece, “Sun Speak II,” a long tube’s colors harmonize with voices whispering or singing to someone at the other end.

 A large family section is set up on Washington Street, where kids can construct assemblages, paint murals and build robots out of recycled materials. But there are plenty of attractions for kids in the “grownup” sections as well.

On Saturday, a troupe of dancers performed “House of Strength,” by Nooshin Rostami, who is originally from Iran. The piece was inspired by Persian gymnasiums called Zoorkhane, where women have traditionally been forbidden. Also on Saturday, the Sculptors Guild gave an iron smelting demonstration in combination with a musical performance.

Saturday night, an interactive word puzzle entitled “Borges: The Complete Works” was projected on the Manhattan Bridge. (This event will be repeated.) A roaming pop-up dance party by Disco Transformer’s Thomas Stevenson was also scheduled.

On Sunday, the “Big Headed Brigade” is set to march through DUMBO. Xiu Xiu will perform “Kling Klang” on the Pier 3 greenway, and powerHouse Arena will be exhibiting “The Imaginary App.”

While the festival is scheduled to end at 6 p.m. on Sunday, several activities continue through midnight: “Borges: The Complete Works” repeats Sunday, along with “God’s Eye,” a festival project on Plymouth Street.

The warm weather and increasing profile of Brooklyn Bridge Park may have brought out more visitors than usual this year. Restaurants in the north end of Brooklyn Heights had long lines of customers Saturday night.

The DUMBO Arts Festival is sponsored by Two Trees Management Company. Visit dumboartsfestival.com for the full schedule and map of events.

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