A Revived and Thriving IngenuityFest Moves Into Its 16th Year

Fri 9/27 @ 6PM-1AM

Sat 9/28 @ 1PM-1AM

Sun 9/29 @ 1-6PM

IngenuityFest moves into its 16th year with a long history of ups and downs before establishing itself now as a creative juggernaut with year-round programming at a permanent location.

Founded in 2004 by local creative catalysts James Levin and Thomas Mulready, the festival intended to marry the arts and technology, spawn new collaborations and activate abandoned and/or underutilized spaces in and around downtown — of which there are far fewer these days (the two initial locations, near Public Square and around East 4th Street no longer offer any empty storefronts and crumbling interiors).

The festival spent a couple of years at Playhouse Square before its currently renaissance, then moved to the streetcar level of the Detroit-Superior Bridge, hands down every festgoer’s favorite location. A move to a couple of warehouses behind the Browns Stadium from 2013-2015 proved uncongenial, and the rainout in 2015 seemed like a bad omen.

The move to its current location in the Hamilton Collaborative was reviving, with the festival showing more signs of addressing its original creative goals than in prior year. Permanent workspace allows the creation of more intricate and larger projects — a full-size ship was under construction when were visited a few weeks before the festival — and the sprawling former industrial complex offers a host of diverse indoor and outdoor spaces which provide atmospheric backdrops for performances, vendor spaces, art exhibits, installations, interactive projects, bars and lounging areas, and more.

The festival begins Friday evening, runs Saturday from early afternoon until late at night, and wraps up Sunday afternoon. You’ll want to set aside a block of time to explore. The Hamilton Collaborative is a huge space and it will be filled with hundreds of things to see and do. That includes lots of interactive things to make, do, play with and participate in. You may stumble across an activity that engages you and end up spending an hour there. (Past activities have included a roller-skating rink, having your face scanned to make a mask and helping to paint a rain barrel.)

Performances include some plain old bands, but also feature a lot of one-time special collaborations and experiments, which may include dance, storytelling, theater, spoken word, burlesque and more.

Admission each day is $6; a weekend pass is $10. Kids 12 and under (you definitely want to bring them!) are free.

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