An artful immersive experience about bugs just opened in Manhattan

It’ll set your senses aflutter.

Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Things to Do Editor
Giant ladybug sculptures inside IMAGINARI.
Photograph: By Harol Baez / Courtesy of IMAGINARI

Think bugs are creepy? Think again. That's the message of IMAGINARI, an immersive art and science experience that opened today in Manhattan. 

The year-long exhibition called The Insect World shows just how cool—and important—bugs actually are. You’ll get to walk through fields of 6-foot flowers, come face-to-face with Picasso bug artwork, and see a mantis partying under a disco ball. Larger-than-life ladybug sculptures dot the floor, and 200 faux monarch butterflies perch on a 12-foot cherry blossom tree. It all adds up to an important message of environmental stewardship. Tickets are on sale now for $36; the all-ages exhibition will be on view for one year.

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IMAGINARI is the brainchild of Linda Uribe, who sees it as more than an exhibit. It's a "community of people who want to do good," she says. Amid a deluge of terrifying climate news, she hopes the exhibit will inspire people to take on conservation activities with excitement instead of dread.

While the exhibition is visually stunning and certainly Instagram-worthy, it also packs plenty of environmental messaging and cool science facts into its 12,000-square-foot space. For example, insects represent 80% of the world’s species with more than 1 million known species and potentially millions more to be discovered. These powerful pollinators also serve as sanitation experts. Bugs of all shapes and sizes get their moment in the spotlight at IMAGINARI. 

A large matis sculpture.
Photograph: By Harol Baez / Courtesy of IMAGINARI

An oversized mantis sculpture offers a chance to admire the creature’s beauty. Fun fact: Mantises are the only insects in the world capable of turning their heads 180 degrees. Another sculpture spotlights the humble dung beetle (which kids will certainly love), while an artistic installation showcases the beauty of the Picasso bug (a patterned bug native to Africa). Graceful ladybug sculptures fly overhead.

In addition to sculpture, bugs are also the subject of close-up photography, textile artwork, and a film compilation. The stunning pieces show off insects' colors and iridescence. As Uribe says, "insects are like the jewelry of nature."

A sculpture of a face with flowers.
Photograph: By Harol Baez / Courtesy of IMAGINARI | Artwork by John Goodman

The collection features creations of renowned artists, including Marlene Huissoud, Bronx-based John Goodman, Japanese fiber artist Yumi Okita, the Seattle-based paper art duo Moth & Myth, New York-based artist Bella Hatkoff, macro photographer Thilina Hettiarachchi.

During the experience, listen for the specially curated ambient music to calm your nerves. Each guest will take home a pack of flower seeds that they can plant.

Photograph: By Harol Baez / Courtesy of IMAGINARI

Expect to spend more than an hour walking through the exhibition. Before you go, stop in the gift shop to see a loom—how ANYBAG (a New York bag) creates their recycled plastic bag tote. The Manhattan-based company repurposes and upcycles single-use plastic bags from NYC, saving them from reaching landfills and waterways. 

Also at IMAGINARI, keep an eye out for workshops, classes, and other special programming. A floral design class, a beekeeping workshop, and a panel on sustainable landscape architecture are already on the schedule. 

Find IMAGINARI at 200 Hudson Street in Tribeca, near Hudson Square, through April 2025. It's the latest addition to the retail offerings from Hudson Square Properties.

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