The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council is known for its programs that revive and make use of the vibrant downtown scene while uplifting the neighborhood and providing site-specific works. Their annual River to River Festival is back again, and features incredible works by Muna Malik, Jean Shin, Asiya Wadud and Mona Chalabi. What makes these public art projects special you might ask? Well, not only are poets involved, but these installations bring poetry and participation back to community life in lower Manhattan.
Presented by LMCC, the River To River Festival is an annual arts festival held during the summer in lower Manhattan in New York City. This year, the four artists mentioned above were invited to explore social practices and create new works for New Yorkers as they collectively navigated the uncharted waters of our current difficult times. The projects epitomize and channel crucial artistic voices to wide-ranging audiences. Most of these projects began through virtual connections or presentations which led to physicality and public artworks—you may have noticed Mona Chalabi’s infographic posters hung around the Williamsburg bridge.
This year’s festival notably includes a collaborative poetry project by Asiya Wadud: ECHO EXHIBIT, as well as an immersive installations by Jean Shin: “Floating MAiZE”, along with a participatory public art project such as Malik’s Blessing of The Boats: River To River, and a data visualization project that draws on US Census data which is Chalabi’s 100 New Yorkers. The latter started playing on a 24/7 loop at Westfield’s World Trade Center hub from August 20.
Though NYC museums are set to open soon, you can still enjoy these interactive and poetic public art projects before they do.
Photos via LMCC