FAQs

Most design weeks are hosted in cities. Why Montclair?


Where the city meets the suburbs, at the intersection of ideas and creativity, business and the entrepreneurial spirit, Montclair has always been a little different. Our long history as a hotbed of innovation dates as far back as 1856, when railroad tracks were first laid between Montclair and cities like Newark and New York. Establishing not one but six commuter train stations in town, and forging our future within the larger metropolis ever since. Today our town is filled with a robust community of creative, innovative people of all ages, backgrounds, professions and points of view, with so much to contribute and celebrate.




I’m not from Montclair. Why should I attend?


Don’t let our suburban size fool you. With an annual film festival that features nearly 200 films from around the world, a literary festival that draws internationally acclaimed writers, and a jazz festival that hosts nearly 30,000 attendees, we’re a powerhouse of creative energy. It’s no wonder we’re on everyone’s radar when it comes to cultural attractions. Come and see how we celebrate and mobilize design as a tool for positive change.




I'm not a designer. Why should I care?


Design is all around us. Everything we encounter - every chair, passport, highway, paint color and voting booth - is the outcome of many decisions that we don't usually make. But we do know what good design looks and feels like. Maybe more importantly, we know what good design does. It inspires our curiosity, it shifts our perspective and, when it's really good, it transforms the world around us for the better. When more of us get curious, we get inspired. When more of us get inspired, we start shaping decisions. Until we find ourselves designing the future we want to live in. Come discover the designer that's been in you all along.




What is Montclair Design Week?


Montclair Design Week (MDW) is the town’s official celebration about design. MDW connects and engages our community in a week of thought-provoking, playful, and inclusive events that celebrate how design enriches our lives in ways both large and small, visible and unseen. From panels, workshops, walks and talks to film series, festivities, installations and competitions, our programming is sure to ignite the designer in all of us.




Where is MDW happening?


Events will be happening all over Montclair. In pocket parks. Along our creeks. In downtown storefronts. At train stations and bus stops, too. In ways that ignite our imagination about what public spaces can be.




Do you charge for events?


We strive to offer a mix of free, low-cost and ticketed events. Attendance to most events will require registration where space is limited. Stay in the know about upcoming events and open registration by signing up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any early bird announcements!




What did your inaugural year of programming look like?


We had over 60 events, and over 4,000 attendees! Download our 2018 Schedule of Events and Young Mavericks program for a full listing. On the eve of Montclair Design Week, we kicked off our town's official celebration about design with festivities that included our first "Designing X" panel series. The next eight days filled up with thought-provoking, playful, and inclusive events that celebrate how design enriches our lives in ways both large and small. From lively talks, design showcase, studio crawls and workshops, to film series, festivities, and design challenges, the week of programming made sure to ignite the designer in all of us.




What's in store for this year?


We end with a bang at our closing festival, saluting our participants, sponsors, partners and volunteers under October skies - with food, music, laughter and even bigger dreams for year 2!




What is a design force for good?


For MDW, design is the act of making things, with close attention to the story about how it’s made, who it’s made for, and why it matters. Design starts with being curious about those stories. The chair you’re sitting on has a story — but so do our homes, parks, roadways, cities, school systems, health care, and even our civic interactions. Any one of us - innovator, high schooler, designer, tinkerer - becomes a design force for good when we rewrite these stories to transform the world around us for the better. What is the story of something you’d like to re-write?




What is your mission?


Montclair Design Week was born out of a curiosity to inspire and activate community engagement by believing that we are all designers of a better bolder future. Through a week-long series of engaging events, design challenges, festivities and a scattering of delightful surprises, Montclair Design Week takes the lead in expanding New York City’s creative footprint by recognizing how we are all in it together. Our mission is to celebrate and mobilize our community as a design force for good, through the power of curiosity, innovation, and engagement. We intend to operate as a non-profit organization with 501(c)3 status.




What is this year's theme?


Last year, our inaugural theme was "The Year of Messy Design," because starting anything is messy, and exciting! Thanks to your curiosity and enthusiasm, you helped us rewrite what a design festival can be. Our first year also left us wondering: now that we’d made a proper and hugely enjoyable mess, what do we do with it? This year, we invite you to venture with us into the “Unwritten,” our theme for 2019.

  • UNWRITTEN is everything we do and make without pausing to give or receive explanation--all the systems and rituals that we participate and move within, but rarely see. It’s those unspoken gestures and actions between us that make and break our community.
  • UNWRITTEN is about working together to uncover what’s been hidden or forgotten. It calls us to lay it bare, unearth, get naked, be curious. To encounter each other.
  • UNWRITTEN means that nothing is set in stone--that when we connect, we can discover things we never could have imagined. It means we can rewrite the story and our futures for the better.
MDW is inspired by the stories of design that we have yet to write — how things being made, who it’s being made for and by, and why it matters. Montclair Design Week explores these questions through playful, inclusive, and thought-provoking programming that sparks our curiosity into action. What are the stories of design that you want to write?





OUR STORY

The big idea, the people, and the goals.

Three years ago, I took the leap of a lifetime and founded Montclair Design Week (MDW) in the place I was born. In this short time, we've grown into DesignShed, a year-round organization with five programs offered as tools to celebrate our community's creative capacities, and mobilize them into action for a more resilient and equitable future. MDW remains our crown jewel each year, held in the third week of October.

For Montclair Design Week, design is the act of making things, with close attention to the story about how it’s made, who it’s made for, and why it matters.

Design starts with being curious about those stories. The chair you’re sitting on has a story — but so do our homes, parks, roadways, cities, school systems, health care, and even our social interactions.

Montclair Design Week is inspired by the stories of design that we have yet to write  — how things are being made, who it’s being made for and by, and why it matters. MDW explores these questions through playful, inclusive, and thought-provoking programming that sparks our curiosity into action.

What are the stories of design that you want to write? Let’s design the future we want, and the stories we want to tell. Come discover the designer that’s been in you all along.

Have more questions? Check out our FAQs to learn more about this year's theme, our mission, and why you should attend.

Kindness in our community is important to us. That's why we hold all MDW participants - organizers, representatives, volunteers, event hosts, sponsors, and attendees - to our Code of Conduct.

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