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A giant inflatable dome is taking over Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza in June

By Clayton Guse
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Brooklyn’s most notable arch is getting a temporary neighbor this June, and it’s full of hot air.

From Monday, June 11, through Sunday, June 17, the Brooklyn Public Library is launching a new program dubbed Democracy Lab, a weeklong collection of community events and workshops that aims to promote civic engagement. The “lab” is actually a massive inflatable dome designed by German architecture group raumlaborberlin, which will set up shop in Grand Army Plaza.

Democracy Lab will serve as a sort of incubator for intimate, in-depth discussions on the state of democracy in America. The whole ordeal is like a Socratic symposium, except, you know, for the whole inflatable dome part. 

Attendees will have the chance to hear from New Yorker social justice writer Rachel Aviv and teenage activist Mosab Hamid on June 11; run through daily guided readings of the New York Times hosted by community leaders and writers; and take place in a forum on June 16 led by the Prospect Park Alliance on forming a community-driven vision for Brooklyn's green spaces. 

“Libraries have long been a critical resource for democracy, and Brooklyn Public Library is delighted to welcome members of the community to this unique civic space in the heart of Brooklyn,” Brooklyn Public Library president and CEO Linda E. Johnson said in a statement. “Democracy Lab is a place to consider contemporary political and social issues through the lenses of literature, history, music, art and satire.”

The full schedule of events slated for Democracy Lab is available at the Brooklyn Public Library’s website. It’s free to RSVP, but you might want to secure your spots sooner than later.

Photograph: Courtesy Kevin McElvaney/Übermut Project

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