IDEAS CITY explores the future of cities with culture as a driving force. A collaborative, civic, and creative enterprise, it builds on the New Museum’s mission of “New Art, New Ideas” by expanding the Museum beyond its walls into the civic realm. Through talks, panels, workshops, projects, performances, and exhibitions, IDEAS CITY investigates key issues, proposes solutions, and seeds concrete actions. Founded by the New Museum in 2011, it is a major collaborative initiative between hundreds of arts, education, and civic organizations. A biennial IDEAS CITY Festival (2011, 2013, 2015, etc.) takes place every other May in New York City, while Global Conferences are organized in cities around the world. Both New York Festivals brought over fifty thousand people to the Bowery neighborhood in 2011 and 2013, respectively. The theme for 2015 is The Invisible City. In 2013, IDEAS CITY explored the theme of Untapped Capital.

“As an institution dedicated to new art and new ideas, the New Museum strongly believes that the cultural community is essential to the vitality of the future city. The cultural sphere is still a relatively untapped source of enormously powerful creative capital, especially in its potential to stimulate economic development and foster greater innovation in other fields. The IDEAS CITY initiative is an unprecedented step in expanding both our institution’s mission and its potential as an ‘ideas’ hub, drawing the creative population together as agents for change.” —Lisa Phillips, Toby Devan Lewis Director, New Museum


The biennial IDEAS CITY Festival takes place in New York City every other May and includes panels, workshops, projects, performances, and exhibitions that are forums for exchanging ideas, proposing solutions, and accelerating creativity.

Learn more about the Festival, browse the gallery of the 2013 edition, watch the panels, and more.

Recap: 2013 Edition R

Alternatively, you can browse the archives of the 2011 edition of the Festival.

Global Conferences

Global Conferences take place in key cities around the world, focusing on the unique situations of each city as well as its context in relation to global urbanism. The Conferences are organized in association with regional partners and are dedicated to growing a global community focused on the importance of culture in urban growth and innovation. IDEAS CITY: São Paulo took place in 2013 and IDEAS CITY: Istanbul in 2012.

Browse Global Conferences R
  • 2,162 featured artists
  • 712 Public Programs
  • 441 Exhibitions

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