Exhibition Promotes Discussion of Community Gardens and Other Grassroots Initiatives

Amplify Postcard

On view August 5—September 15, 2010
Opening Reception: August 5, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Abrons Arts Center
Henry Street Settlement
466 Grand Street, New York

NEW YORK, July 26, 2010— The New School presents AMPLIFY: Creative and Sustainable Lifestyles in the Lower East Side, an exhibition of sustainable community design, including innovative neighborhood gardening initiatives, in New York City’s Lower East Side. AMPLIFY proposes a dialogue within the local community about creating a sustainable future. The exhibition is the culmination of the first year of Amplifying Creative Communities, an ongoing project spearheaded by The New School’s Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability Research Lab (DESIS Lab), which aims to develop creative, sustainable lifestyles by strengthening the grassroots activities that exist within New York City neighborhoods. AMPLIFY will be on view from August 5 to September 15 at the Abrons Arts Center at the Henry Street Settlement.

“Creative communities like those on the Lower East Side can change how cities operate, modeling grassroots action that spurs sustainable, community-based exchange,” said Lara Penin, assistant professor, School of Design Strategies, Parsons The New School for Design. “Focusing on the Lower East Side’s different social innovation practices—including community gardens, healthy food systems and collaborative services for senior citizens—AMPLIFY both showcases design improvements driven by Desis Lab’s contributions, and catalyzes the dissemination of such programs across the city and the world.”

AMPLIFY will showcase the process for investigating and designing new scenarios for social innovation practices, developed by New School professors and students at DESIS Lab as part of the Amplifying Creative Communities project. Highlights of the installation will include: a large-scale map of local sustainability initiatives, profiles of local grass-roots innovators and a selection of social innovation cases from around the world.

Founded in 2009, the New School’s DESIS Lab was awarded with the Cultural Innovation Fund 2009 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. DESIS Lab brings together faculty and students from across the university, led by Parsons The New School for Design and Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy, to research, promote, and amplify community-based solutions for sustainability in New York City. The New School, a research university, has established the DESIS Lab as the next step in its commitment to playing a leading role in the emerging field of design for social change, and more specifically, social innovation.

Amplifying Creative Communities is a two-year project, which will shift its examination of community innovation to another New York City borough during the 2010-2011 academic year. The New School’s DESIS Lab leads the project in partnership with Green Map System (, which utilizes mapmaking to promote sustainable community development in over 50 countries, the Lower East Side Ecology Center (, which provides community-based environmental education and activism opportunities to New York City residents, and IDEO (, an acclaimed international design consultancy. For more information on the DESIS lab at The New School, please visit

About The New School
Located in the heart of New York’s Greenwich Village, The New School is a center of academic excellence where intellectual and artistic freedoms thrive. More than 10,200 matriculated students and 6,400 continuing education students enjoy a disciplined education supported by small class sizes, superior resources, and renowned working faculty members who practice what they teach. The New School is comprised of The New School for General Studies, The New School for Social Research, Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy, Parsons The New School for Design, Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts, Mannes College The New School for Music, The New School for Drama, and The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. For more information, please visit

About The Abrons Art Center
The Abrons Arts Center is a division of Henry Street Settlement, which has provided social services and artistic programming to Manhattan’s Lower East Side since 1893. Abrons opened to house Henry Street’s visual and performing arts alongside its community-based arts training. The performing arts program inherits the century-long legacy of the Neighborhood Playhouse, where recent performances have been mounted by the Public Art Fund, MoMA, and Performa, and two exhibition spaces show work from emerging and mid-career contemporary artists. The visual artist-in-residence program, AIRspace, has provided free studio space and professional development to artists since 1978, including Shirin Neshtat, Shinique Smith, Javier Tellez, and Simone Leigh. Visit


79 Fifth Avenue,
New York, NY 10003


Media Contacts:

Kate McCormick

Sam Biederman

Bookmark and Share