DUMBO Arts Festival canceled (for now?)
After an 18-year run, the often zany, always popular DUMBO Arts Festival has come to an end, a victim of its own success.
The three day extravaganza won't be returning to the artsy neighborhood down under the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, according to key sponsor Two Trees Management Company.
The festival was known for packing galleries filled with visual art and interactive pieces -- along with eccentric processions, artists wearing "backpack galleries" and performers of all stripes roaming the streets of DUMBO.
The crowds and cost were getting to be just too much, Lisa Kim, cultural affairs director of Two Trees, said in a statement. More than 220,000 visitors flooded the little neighborhood for the festival weekend last year, and "it became clear that we could no longer mount the festival ourselves without commercializing it in a way that didn't feel right," she said.
"It is with a heavy heart that I bring you this news, which was not an easy decision to make," Kim added.
Borough President Eric Adams says he hopes to keep the event going.
"Our borough does not want to lose this magnetic event, which has introduced hundreds of thousands of visitors to Brooklyn's waterfront," he said in a statement. "I will be reaching out to the festival's organizers, along with local artists, businesses and stakeholders, to see how we might preserve this important piece of Brooklyn's cultural legacy."
You can read a letter from the festival below..
After an amazing 18-year run, the annual DUMBO Arts Festival will not be returning this year. It is with heavy hearts that we bring you this news, which was not an easy decision to make.
Founded in 1997 as the Art Under the Bridge Festival by DUMBO residents Joy Glidden and Tyson Daugherty, the festival was initially established as a grass roots artists' initiative designed to attract people to experience art in DUMBO in order to preserve the neighborhood as a springboard for new art and ideas. Glidden went on to found the DUMBO Arts Center, which was steward to the festival from 1998-2009. With DAC's announcement to end the festival in 2009, founding sponsor Two Trees Management Company stepped in and took over lead sponsorship and organization of the festival.
Over the past five years, with an incredible team of supporters, artists, dedicated staff, and volunteers from around the world, we worked to showcase extraordinary art from a growing list of local and international artists. We've had an incredible run and brought beautiful moments of art to a huge audience. At the very least, we hope we have pushed artists and the public to think more broadly about art and to find it in the most unexpected of places. It has been an honor and a thrill to oversee such a massive celebration of art.
But as the festival grew and grew-more than 220,000 visitors flooded the neighborhood for the festival weekend last year-it became clear that we could no longer mount the festival ourselves without commercializing it in a way that didn't feel right. We were getting too far from the original mission of the festival. As a result, in consultation with the organizing team, we have elected to end the festival and refocus on how best to allocate resources to support an active, year-round DUMBO arts community.
Thank you all for your support and participation over the years, and we hope to see you soon-not just for one weekend of the year. Stay tuned for news of future events and projects and be sure to visit the artists, galleries and cultural groups that keep DUMBO an arts destination year round.
Lisa Kim, Festival Director
Frank Riley, Executive Producer