Text and Photos By Daniel Krieger
On Saturday, July 1st, Lincoln Center held its fourth iteration of Big Umbrella Day. “Inclusiveness is what it’s all about,” said a Lincoln Center representative, “making sure neurodivergent audiences feel welcome at Lincoln Center.”
The event offered various workshops and activities that are accessible and interactive, geared toward special-needs children but welcoming everybody, she explained. The wide array of activities spanning the whole day allowed visitors to curate their own experience.
Things got started in the morning with a performance by the FREE Players Drum & Bugle Corps at the Josie Robertson Plaza. Meanwhile, several all-day workshops got underway, like one for making art, and another for gardening.
A man sitting with his three-year-old daughter at the Revson Fountain, which had a huge disco ball suspended above it, said he lives nearby and happened to stumble upon the event. “It just seems like a good time for kids,” he said.
Later came one of the highlights of the day — SWAY’S Bloom! aerial show, an avant-garde spectacle in which three creatures in colorful costumes danced and swayed on pliable 15 foot poles.
WSR spoke to Louisa, 9, who is not special needs and was sitting with her mother. Asked why she came to see SWAY, she said: “It’s really cool because they do amazing tricks.”
“It’s not something you see often,” added her mother.
“Yeah,” Louisa said.
Next came Polyglot Theater’s BEES, a workshop in which kids make their own bee costumes, if they want, and then buzz around with all the other bees, including three adults in full bee costumes. By the end, a swarm of kids were gleefully following the three big bees.
Back outside by the fountain, Paula, who was with her eight year old special needs son Brody, said they attend a lot of Lincoln Center’s events for kids. “I was so excited to see a day like today that’s going to be inclusive,” she said, adding that the event that most interested Brody was the silent disco in the evening, when that big disco ball would be put to use.