Photo: courtesy of

In a showcase of progress and innovation, the third installment of Ideas City by the New Museum is ready to open your eyes to the Invisible City. Inspired by the work of Italo Calvino, this year’s Ideas City theme is The Invisible City, focusing on civil action, the future of urban life and the importance of culture to urban growth.

The festival features exhibits, speakers, and screenings in multiple topics. The key topics include art, architecture and design, civic life, environment, politics, and technology. Each piece in the festival will focus on one or more of these topics.

For example, one of the art exhibits is titled “The City of the Lost and Found.” This exhibit will be open on Saturday, May 30, and encourages visitor participation. Those who come to the exhibit are asked to create something that represents a feeling, item, or idea that they have lost in the city. The exhibit provides materials such as sticks, newspaper, yarn and wire. Once completed, the creations will be hung from a wire mobile in the exhibit tent. Visitors will then go to a city map and mark where they think their lost item is now located.

For the politics category, Ideas City has invited The Hon. Julián Castro, Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, to be a keynote speaker. His talk will take place on Friday, May 29, at 10 a.m. in the Great Hall of the Cooper Union. Castro will be talking about The Invisible City and the possibility of progress in urban living for Americans.

If you are hungry for more, check out the environmental area of conversation with the Smog Tasting exhibit on Saturday, May 30. With the creative use of meringue, this project makes it possible for you to taste the difference in the air from different cities. The meringues are free and come with field guides and suggested food pairings.

These are just a few of the many events that can be found at this year’s Ideas City festival. With a variety of subjects, there is something for everyone. Be a part of the urban progress and check out this weekend’s festival.

by Laura Seaman