The New School to celebrate centennial with a free, week-long festival in Greenwich Village

American composer Henry Cowell teaching a course called “Music of the World’s Peoples” at The New School. (Photos courtesy of The New School)

BY EMILY DAVENPORT | One of Manhattan’s most progressive universities will be celebrating 100 years of education with a week-long festival.

On Oct. 1-6, The New School will host The Festival of New to celebrate the school’s centennial anniversary with one-of-a-kind performances and discussions, as well as academic and cultural offerings with the change-makers who are shaping the century ahead. 

The festival will take place on The New School campus, located at 72 5th Ave., and at other locations throughout the city. Every part of the festival is free to the public.N

“The university has always had a special place in the hearts of New Yorkers and engaged innovators around the world,” said David Van Zandt, president of The New School. “We are excited to share this moment with our alumni, friends, supporters, and New School enthusiasts from NYC and beyond and welcome the public into our extraordinary community of artists, scholars, and activists.”

New School President David Van Zandt

The festival aims to celebrate 100 years of serving as the most spirited and unconventional universities in the country.

After opening its doors as a co-ed institution in 1919 (with an enrollment rate of 70 percent women and 30 percent men in its first semester), The New School kept its focus on continuing education rather than offering formalized programs.

The New School was the first to offer classes in jazz history, African-American studies, women’s history course, psychoanalysis class, among many others. The school also was the first to offer an international program.

The New School’s alumni include visionary women like Hannah Arendt, Martha Graham, Clara Mayer, Frieda Wunderlich, Maria Piscator, and many more. The New School has also hosted creators such as W.E.B. DuBois, John Cage, Anatole Broyard, Ai Weiwei, Donna Karan.

Jonathan F. Fanton (center), who served as the New School president from 1982 to 1999, with Dorothy Hirshon (right).

“The New School opened its doors a century ago with the ambitious goal of creating a new kind of academic institution that would bring together scholars, creative practitioners, and citizens interested in questioning and debating the most important issues of the day,” said Van Zandt. “We continue to strive for that ideal today, and to push academic, creative, and cultural boundaries in bold and innovative ways.”

Throughout the week, the festival will offer a number of events, many hosted by alumni of The New School. Highlights include Keeping it New in Fashion: A Talk Between Generations with Fern Mallis, Derek Lam, and Emily Bode (Oct. 2, 2:30 p.m.); At the Parsons Table with Anna Sui (‘72) (Oct. 4, 6 p.m.); The New School Comedy Special with Julio Torres (‘11) and Spike Einbinder (‘13) (Oct. 6, 6 p.m.); a screening of Ask Dr. Ruth with Dr. Ruth Westheimer (Class of 1959) and Bill Ritter (‘16) (Oct. 5, 2:30 p.m.); and so much more.

For a full schedule, visit newschool.edu/festival-of-new.

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