The free festival celebrates Downtown Brooklyn’s arts institutions with performances presented by Theater of War Productions, BRIC, Mark Morris Dance and much more.

The inaugural Downtown Brooklyn Arts Festival is coming to The Plaza at 300 Ashland from Friday, September 21 through Sunday, September 23, announced the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. 

The festival will launch in collaboration with BRIC, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Brooklyn Public Library, Mark Morris Dance Group, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) and Theater for a New Audience and aims to highlight the Downtown Brooklyn arts district and its many institutions.

“This festival is all about bringing together the vibrant institutions, artists and spaces that make up the fabric of Downtown Brooklyn,” said Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Regina Myer. “The exciting lineup promises Brooklyn residents a unique opportunity to enjoy incredible performances, become involved with some of the neighborhood’s leading cultural institutions, and make use of important, iconic public spaces like 300 Ashland.”

The Mark Morris Dance Group, who will perform its 2014 “Words.”

The weekend-long celebration of the arts will kick off with Soul Summit, the long-running Fort Greene dance party, on Friday evening. 

On Saturday, September 22, Brooklynites can flock downtown for the festival’s community day with free activities, programming and performances for all ages. BRIC will be presenting Grammy-nominated chamber orchestra The Knights, followed by the Mark Morris Dance Group, who will perform its 2014 “Words,” set to Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words. The evening will culminate in a salsa dance party led by modern-day Los Hacheros.

The festival will close out on Sunday with a reading of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s sermon The Drum Major Instinct, a cautionary speech about the impulse in all humans to be first. The project, starring Orange Is the New Black’s Samira Wiley and produced by NYC company Theater of War, intends to engage diverse audiences in a dialogue about racism, inequality, and social justice, fostering compassion, understanding and positive action following the reading. The event will be accompanied by music from Phil Woodmore, featuring The Phil Woodmore Singers and a choir that includes police officers, teachers, activists and members of the faith community from St. Louis, Missouri.

Throughout the weekend, Downtown Brooklyn’s arts organizations will open their doors to welcome visitors for talks, tours and special performances. Local cultural organizations will have booths onsite throughout the festival to provide information on their programming and engage with residents.

For a complete line-up, go here.

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