Thousands attended the three-day DUMBO Arts Festival, which lasted from Friday, September 23, to Sunday, September 25, to be entertained by the most innovative and modern art New York City has to offer.
The festival, which stretched from High Street to John Street and from the Brooklyn Bridge to Gold Street, featured 500 artists, 120 art studios and 40 live performances.
A light installation reflecting off the Manhattan Bridge underpass was part of the “Immersive Surfaces” project featured at night, which made the legs of the bridge look as if they were moving.
The project also displayed a face with hands that clawed and scratched at its head, looking stressed and confined in its place, while techno music boomed from a nearby record store.
Stephanie Monseu of the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, based out of Williamsburg where she lives, gave a dominatrix-styled performance on Water Street on Saturday afternoon, in which she called up volunteers to play with her whips and other leather items.
Later in the evening, as Monseu was packing up, she said she was tired from working since 7 a.m., but that she had a great time with the crowd that came out to the festival.
“There were great people here,” she said. “I was amazed at how many people are here. And the weather was beautiful. It ended up being lovely and warm.”
Although she didn’t get to explore the entire festival, Monseu did take 20 minutes to walk from the Tobacco Factory over to Washington Street, “and in that short stroll, I got to see dancers on a teeter-totter, I got to see another set of friends of mine do a water balloon show, I got to see some beautiful art happening,” she said.
Another performance that evening, entitled “Wet Exit” by Janet Biggs, featured images projected on a screen, a live band and synchronized kayaking on the river in front of the Manhattan skyline.
In an interview after the festival, Biggs said she was also impressed by the turnout, "especially considering the weather looked a little bit threatening all day."
Biggs said she started working on "Wet Exit" a year and a half ago, but that it took a while to get the Parks Department permits and the funding to start rehearsals, which began four months ago.
She said the crowd was "really receptive to all that they were seeing" at the festival.
"I felt honored by the response I got to my project," Biggs said, "so I was very happy."
The performance could be seen from all around Brooklyn Bridge Park, including by those sitting on the boulder-sized rocks decked in striped, cushioned covers, which were the “Twenty Four Stones I’d Like to Know” exhibit created by Pillow Culture and Elizabeth Demaray.
Inside one of the galleries at 35 Plymouth Street, Kevin Kelly, who lives in DUMBO, displayed his intriguing but disorienting “I Heart Dodecahedrons” exhibit, in which he used cardboard to play with the 3-D nature of the shape.
Kelly said he had a lot of foot traffic in his studio throughout the day.
“I never even got a chance to have lunch,” he said.
Kelly said that although 90 percent of the people who visited the gallery had a quick look around and then moved on, “about 10 percent of the people stop and get really into a piece and want to know about it,” which he was pleased with.
As for his exhibit, Kelly said “I’ve really loved this geometric form for a long time,” referring to the dodecahedron.
“I’ve been exploring it as making it into large-scale sculptures now for a few years,” he said, and added that he loves the dizzying quality of the shapes he created.
Across the hall, visitors explored the “Magic Garden,” which featured glowing, color-changing crystals, giant flowers, squid hanging from the ceiling and other strange artistic forms.
AT&T, in addition to Two Trees Management Co. and the DUMBO Business Improvement District, who also organized the artists and performances, sponsored the festival.