Downtown Brooklyn Arts Festival, Oct. 4-6

Downtown Brooklyn Arts Festival, Oct. 4-6

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN – The second annual Downtown Brooklyn Arts Festival kicks off on Friday, celebrating the Brooklyn Cultural District‘s vast array of artists and cultural institutions.

Courtesy of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

Hosted by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, many of the area’s top cultural institutions will participate in the weekend-long event, including BAM, BRIC, Brooklyn Ballet, Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn Music School, Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Fiction, DanceWave, DreamStreet Theatre Company, Irondale Arts Center, Issue Project Room, Mark Morris Dance Group, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), New York Transit Museum, Theater for a New Audience, and UrbanGlass.

The arts organizations will open their doors to the public throughout the weekend and present special performances, talks, movie screenings, and tours. The Plaza at 300 Ashland will also offer free programming, including dance, music, poetry, theater, and more.

This year’s festival opens Friday evening (Oct. 4) with the Soul Tigers Marching Band (5pm) followed by a Soul Summit dance party (5:30pm) featuring old-school house music.

Courtesy of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

The Downtown Brooklyn Arts Festival Community Day on Saturday (Oct. 5) will feature activities and programming at The Plaza at 300 Ashland (Lafayette Ave. between Flatbush Ave. & Ashland Pl.) including music presented by Brooklyn Music School (11am and 11:45am) and dance performances by DanceWave (1:45pm), Brooklyn Ballet (2pm) and DreamStreet Theatre (4pm).

Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble will present Soundpainting Downtown Brooklyn, a live composition using sign language to “sculpt the performance” (1pm). Issue Project Room will host a performance by Rhys Chatham (2:15pm) and the Mark Morris Dance Group will lead a family dance class (3pm).

Bang on a Can will host an instrument-building workshop led by musician Mark Stewart (3pm) and an interactive performance by Mark Stewart’s Orchestra of Original Instruments and Asphalt Orchestra (4:30pm).

At 6:40pm don’t miss Dick Fontaine’s 1994 short film Betty Carter: New All The Time, about the beloved late jazz singer and Fort Greene resident for whom the city recently renamed the revamped BAM Park. A screening of Spike Lee’s 1994 favorite Crooklyn will follow.

The festival wraps up on Sunday (Oct. 6) with Urban Bush Women performing excerpts from Hair & Other Stories (12:30pm) and an afternoon of DJ sets by Talib Kweli and a pop-up of Nkiru Books, Brooklyn’s oldest African-American bookstore (2pm to 5pm).

Throughout the weekend, Strike Anywhere and the Tours Soundpainting Orchestra will present Pop Up: An Artistic Treasure Hunt (12pm to 1:45pm). Participants will use hand-painted maps to find mini pop-up performances throughout Fort Greene and Downtown Brooklyn, inspired by interviews with local residents. There will be three different treasure hunts presented, with 20 performers and 15 secret locations. Register at

See Downtown Brooklyn Arts Festival’s full lineup of weekend events at