Brooklyn Utopias?
This website documents the original 2009 "Brooklyn Utopias?" exhibits and events. For the most up-to-date information on the ongoing "Brooklyn Utopias" exhibition series, please visit our blog at

For information on the 2010 exhibit, "Brooklyn Utopias: Farm City" at the Old Stone House, please visit the Farm City Forum website.

Artists consider differing visions of an ideal Brooklyn

Click here for an article about Brooklyn Utopias? in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle!

Click here to see a feature on Brooklyn Utopias? at the Old Stone House, from the BCAT cable TV station!


Utopia: An ideal place or state, usually imaginary; any visionary system of political, social, environmental, or moral perfection

What would a “Brooklyn Utopia” look like? What is the role of artists in shaping a more ideal Brooklyn?

Brooklyn Utopias? was a series of art exhibits and public programs in Fall 2009 that engaged artists, youth, and community organizations in an urgent dialogue about Brooklyn’s future. This included two group exhibitions of over 30 artists at The Old Stone House (Sept 15-Oct 31) and the Brooklyn Historical Society (Oct 1-Jan 24), and a corresponding Teen Art Show (Nov 12-Dec 31) at Starting Artists, Inc..

From colonial religious settlements to western frontiers to urban renewal, the US has historically been obsessed with Utopian communities. Brooklyn is no exception to this, with its history as a home for Dutch colonial and myriad immigrant settlers, 19th Century social reformers like Alfred T. White, influential artists and writers from Walt Whitman to Spike Lee; and its distinctive neighborhoods ranging from the Coney Island amusement paradise to luxury “Manhattan suburbs.”

The past decade marks Brooklyn’s growing popularity and often competing and controversial planning attempts-- from luxury developments to new sports and entertainment complexes to affordable housing and "green" architecture initiatives. How effective are all these efforts? What additional innovations are possible? And what can survive recent economic and environmental crises?

The Brooklyn Utopias? project invited professional artists and emerging youth artists to identify and respond to these often-conflicting visions of the most livable and sustainable Brooklyn, and/or imagine their own Brooklyn "Utopias."

Brooklyn Utopias? was made possible by the Brooklyn Historical Society's Public Perspectives program, and funding from the Puffin Foundation.