ADAPT. MITIGATE. DESIGN.
These are the words given to professors and student participants from Cornell University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Kean University, and Rochester Institute of Technology for the inaugural Art & Architecture Festival at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.
These invited teams were asked to engage with architecture’s ability to affect positive social and environmental change—both as functional/aesthetic interventions and also as agents oriented toward public engagement. Rather than creating one-off installations with limited use, each pavilion was designed to accommodate programs at Bethel Woods, such as performances by emerging musicians and pop-up art events.
The concept for the festival is an homage to the ground's historic legacy.
In 1969, Art Professors Bill Ward and Ron Liis and a group of their students from the University of Miami were asked to participate in Woodstock. It was after all, the Woodstock Music & Art Fair. Together, the “art crew” built sculptural installations on the grounds of the festival. They created a place where the young people attending Woodstock could gather and interact with the environmental art and the artists.
Now, four days in late September, architecture students and instructors from various universities gathered on the original site and constructed interactive art installations. For some, it’s the first time they picked up a power tool. For all, it is a unique opportunity to work together, share in the learning, and see projects through from design to completion.
As one the student said: “Having gone through this experience and building a real project for the first time, I left feeling really inspired to lean into the creative part of the architecture field. I’ve always enjoyed the arts and this whole experience showed how these projects can be used to connect with all kinds of places and people.”
The 2023 Art and Architecture Festival at Bethel Woods will expand the program to eight invited universities with a focus on interdisciplinary design teams.