Salsa, gospel, ballet and more in inaugural Downtown Brooklyn arts festival

September 10, 2018 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Plaza at 300 Ashland, Downtown Brooklyn’s newest open public space in the heart of the Brooklyn Cultural District, will host free outdoor programming throughout the festival. Photos courtesy of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership
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This month, Brooklyn’s arts institutions are coming together in the epicenter of the borough’s arts district to put on the first ever Downtown Brooklyn Arts Festival: Discover the District.

The festival, which will run from Friday, Sept. 21 through Sunday, Sept. 23, is the result of collaboration between BRIC, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Brooklyn Public Library, the Mark Morris Dance Group, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), Theater for a New Audience and more.

The weekend is scheduled to kick off on Friday night, rain or shine, with a special iteration of the beloved Soul Summit, the Fort Greene dance party that celebrated its fifteenth year running this past summer.

On the schedule for Saturday is an instrumental performance from Grammy-nominated group The-Knights, followed by Mark Morris Dance Group performing its 2014 choreography “Words,” set to Mendelssohn’s “Songs Without Words.” Viewers will get the chance to learn the steps after the performance. Then, the New York-based group Los Hacheros, who NPR once recognized as torchbearers of “the golden era of Latin music,” will lead a salsa dance party into the night.

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After all the dancing, Sunday is slated to open with a performance from New York City Public Artist in Residence Bryan Doerries’ Theater of War Productions. The act will star “Orange Is the New Black’s” Samira Wiley, as she presents a reading of Martin Luther King Jr.’s sermon “The Drum Major Instinct” scored by Phil Woodmore and an accompanying choir.

Throughout the weekend, arts organizations across the area will open their doors to the community, putting on free talks, tours and events for festival-goers, including free outdoor programming at The Plaza at 300 Ashland.

The theme of the festival, according to Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Regina Myer, is “all about bringing together the vibrant institutions, artists and spaces that make up the fabric of Downtown Brooklyn.”

For the complete calendar of events and for more information, visit

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