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‘A Night Not to Be Missed:’ Beloved First Saturdays Festival Returns to Brooklyn Museum

Saturday, April 2, will mark the first full-fledged First Saturdays program at Brooklyn Museum since March 2020
Brooklyn Museum. Photo: Mateo Ruiz Gonzalez for BK Reader.

The beloved First Saturdays festival is returning to Brooklyn Museum this Saturday, April 2, for a night of joy, celebration and liberation.

It’s the first full-fledged First Saturdays program since March 2020, when the pandemic hit, and follows a ‘lite’ version of programming in 2021.

Brooklyn Museum has hosted the monthly evenings of free programming for more than 21 years and the nights have gained a reputation as the place to be.

This year’s festival promises not to disappoint, offering a full slate of activities between 5:00pm and 10:00pm.

The night includes the opportunity to participate in the finale of artist Mel Chin’s Fundred Project, in which nearly half a million kids from across the country have created their own “Fundred Dollar Bills” to support the end of lead poisoning and rehabilitate communities impacted by contaminated water and soil.

It will also include signature cocktails by Crown Heights bar Ode to Babel; music by New York artist Isa Reyes; a town hall between staff at Brooklyn Museum and new City Council members; pop-up talks with the Museum’s Teen Apprentices looking at Black histories and futures; a musical set by Bathe; pop-up poetry readings exploring Afrofuturism; and a musical finale devoted to creating moments for and by Black people to reclaim space, time, energy and one another in the continued fight for justice, the museum said.

First Saturdays have long been a site of celebration and support of Black lives, liberation and joy, the museum says on its website, as well a place to amplify voices from across the borough’s BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities.

“We’re committed to continuing to offer public programs that are in harmony with our values, and as part of this commitment, we no longer contract police to provide security services.”

Advance registration for the event required and admission is subject to capacity at the time of arrival. To register, click here.

The full schedule is as follows:

Music: Isa Reyes

5:00pm–6:00pm, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Pavilion and Lobby, 1st Floor

New York–based musician Isa Reyes offers a performance that blends R&B and indie pop to create a unique, atmospheric sound.

Performance: Viva Brooklyn! With Mel Chin

5:00pm–6:00pm, Brooklyn Museum Plaza

Artist Mel Chin celebrates the finale of the Fundred Project—an initiative he founded that, since 2008, has connected hundreds of thousands of kids, communities, and policymakers from across the country to advance actions to end lead poisoning—with a dynamic lineup of special guests. Presented in partnership with S.O.U.R.C.E. Studio.

Signature Cocktail by Ode to Babel

5:00–10:00pm, The Norm Restaurant and Bar, 1st Floor

Toast the return of First Saturday with a specialty cocktail, created by Crown Heights bar Ode to Babel, that pays tribute to the vibes of this signature Brooklyn event. Served throughout the Museum or at The Norm Restaurant.

Town Hall

6:00–8:00pm, Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Floor

Museum director Anne Pasternak hosts a conversation with central Brooklyn’s newest City Council members: Crystal Hudson, Chi Ossé, and Rita Joseph. Join the conversation to learn how your representatives will prioritize community members and the arts two years into the pandemic. Admission is first come, first served.

Hands-on Art

6:00–8:00pm, Education Gallery, 1st Floor

Participate in the Fundred Project! This artist-led initiative invites people across the country to reinterpret $100 bills in order to call attention to the danger of childhood lead poisoning. Newly created Fundred Dollar Bills will enter the Fundred Reserve on view in our special exhibition The Slipstream120 free tickets available online at 5 pm.

Music: Bathe

7:00–8:00pm, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Pavilion and Lobby, 1st Floor

Catch a musical set by Bathe, the dreamy surf-rock/R&B melding of Brooklyn-based duo Devin Hobdy and Corey Smith-West.

Teen Pop-Up Talks

7:30–8:30 pm, Luce Center for American Art, 5th Floor

Teen Apprentices host ten-minute pop-up talks in our American Art galleries that focus on building futures and exploring Black histories.

Pop-Up Poetry: The Future of Black

8:00–10:00pm, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor

Celebrate The Future of Black: Afrofuturism, Black Comics, and Superhero Poetry, an anthology exploring Afrofuturism by writers and artists of color, with readings from contributors Anastacia-Renée Tolbert and Quincy Scott Jones and editor Cynthia Manick. Presented as part of Carnegie Hall’s Afrofuturism festival. 50 free tickets available online at 7 pm.

Music: The Lay Out

8:30–10:00pm, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Pavilion and Lobby, 1st Floor

Close out the evening with The Lay Out—a community event built during the time of the pandemic, creating moments for and by Black people to reclaim space, time, energy, and one another in the continued fight for justice—featuring sets by Niara Sterling, Quiana Parks, and friends.