Outdoor festival in downtown Winston-Salem to celebrate IdeasCityWS


  • An outdoor festival will be held in Bailey Park on Sat., Oct. 2, marking the culmination of IdeasCityWS.
  • The event will feature interactive exhibits, panel discussions, and musical performances.
  • The festival is free and open to the public.

An outdoor festival marking the culmination of a year of creative collaborations between Wake Forest University, New York City’s New Museum and local community partners will be held on Saturday, Oct. 2, in Bailey Park from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. in downtown Winston-Salem.

A highlight of the event will be the Marketplace of Ideas – an “outdoor living room” with interactive exhibits from two dozen local creative organizations representing progressive contributions in art, tech, design and culture. Artists, entrepreneurs, designers, and inventors will display working ideas poised to move our communities forward as we imagine a post-pandemic Winston-Salem.

The celebration is free and open to the public.

In addition to the Marketplace of Ideas, the festival will include:

  • Panel discussions featuring Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellows, prominent figures in the Winston-Salem music scene, and mayors from cities across the country.
  • Performances throughout the afternoon and evening from well-known local musicians highlighting the diverse musical community in Winston-Salem.
  • A live performance of “The Martha Bassett Show” on Saturday evening.

Information is available on the IdeasCityWS website and will be updated as events and presenters are added.

“It’s been so gratifying for the New Museum to partner with Wake Forest University. We’ve been introduced to and collaborated with local partners who are leading the way on how Winston-Salem can lean into its entrepreneurial community and support a growing creative economy,” said Karen Wong, deputy director, New Museum. “Winston-Salem’s IdeasCity Festival will be a day to share the homegrown talent, the innovation and create a space for civic joy.”

IdeasCityWS and Beta Bonfires

Over the past year, IdeasCityWS partners hosted a variety of events to explore creative approaches to improve health and wellbeing, economic development, and justice and equity for members of the Winston-Salem community.

These events included virtual “Beta Bonfires” that paired New Museum’s NEW INC incubator partners with Winston-Salem creatives to explore artistic and entrepreneurial solutions to current issues. Bonfires included presentations and discussions on rethinking norms, workforce development, and new ideas for life after the pandemic. Beta Bonfires were recorded and are archived on the IdeasCityWS website.

IdeasCity, which began in 2011 as a program of the New Museum, views intersections among art, culture, design, and technology as essential to the future vitality of cities. In 2020, Winston-Salem joined a global list of cities chosen as IdeasCity hosts including Athens, Detroit, Singapore, Istanbul, New Orleans, Toronto, Sao Paulo, Arles, and New York City.

In October 2020, when the announcement was made that Winston-Salem would host IdeasCity, Mayor Allen Joines described it as a distinct honor. “As the City of Arts and Innovation, Winston-Salem is well-positioned to take full advantage of this opportunity. The variety of perspectives and collaboration offered through this partnership will open new possibilities for improving our community for all.”

Sponsors and Partners

Corporate sponsors include Flow Automotive and Inmar Inc. and the local media sponsor is WGHP.

Community partners include: The Office of the Mayor of Winston-Salem, Creative Center of North Carolina, The Arts Council, Innovation Quarter, Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts- University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Flywheel, The Center for the Study of Economic Mobility at Winston-Salem State University, HUSTLE, Forsyth Technical Community College Small Business Center, The Martha Bassett Show, Sawtooth, Wake Forest Center for Entrepreneurship, MIXXER Makerspace, Greater Winston-Salem Inc., Center for Creative Economy, and Media+Emerging Technologies Lab- UNCSA.

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