The Model Block: an exhibit

Mon, Apr 7, 12am - Sat, Apr 12, 2014 12am

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New York, NY 10003

Open Monday - Friday, 11am - 7pm, Saturday 11am - 3pm

Panel with SUSTAIN Artists featuring Amanda Browder, Miggy Buck, Karina Mangu-Ward & Shawn Shafner | Saturday, April 12 @ 12:30-1:15PM

Participatory Workshops with SUSTAIN Artists | Saturday, April 12 @ 1:30-3PM

NEW YORK – On Tuesday, April 8th, Fourth Arts Block (FABnyc) and the Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design (CUISD) will host an opening for The Model Block: an exhibit. The Model Block represents the culmination of a multi-year project which focused on the East 4th Street Cultural District (between 2nd Ave & Bowery) as a testing ground for new and innovative solutions to the complexities of urban sustainability at the block scale.

The exhibit highlights environmental actions taken on a typical block, organized around the themes of community, energy, waste, and water. It will also feature the products of collaborative art projects by Amanda Browder, Miggy Buck, Karina Mangu-Ward, and Shawn Shafner. There will be an artist panel discussion and workshops with artists on Saturday, April 12th from 12:30-3PM.

As early as 2009, FABnyc began working to connect local residents, nonprofits, and small businesses to energy efficiency and waste reduction programs. In Spring 2011, Borough President Scott Stringer’s Go Green Lower East Side initiative designated East 4th Street as a Model Block for sustainability, linking the block to a network of partners and coordinated actions.

FABnyc and the Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design expanded this work to develop “SUSTAIN: Steering Urban Sustainability Through Action, Innovation & Networks,” a neighborhood environmental initiative that built an interconnected, action-learning community around the East 4th Street Cultural District and Cooper Union campus. Primarily backed through a generous award from the Rockefeller Foundation Cultural Innovation Fund, additional support was provided by Con Edison, DesigNYC, Eileen Fisher, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Over a two-year period, SUSTAIN originated a variety of projects to harness and focus the talents of artists, architects, engineers, students, residents, small businesses, and activists—developing and implementing creative solutions to the challenges of urban sustainability. The Model Block: an exhibit, shares highlights from this work and reflects the efforts of an extraordinary number of people, organizations, businesses, funders, and elected officials.

For further information about The Model Block: an exhibit, please email FABnyc’s Director of SUSTAIN, Betsy Imershein at, or check our website at

Fourth Arts Block (FABnyc) was founded in 2001 by arts and community groups to preserve and promote the East 4th Street Cultural District's rich heritage and creativity. Today, FABnyc has expanded to become a service and advocacy organization for the Lower East Side, leading the renovation of more than 100,000 square feet of arts space; promoting the neighborhood as an arts destination; and providing support services to local arts groups through trainings, special events, public art, resource-sharing and sustainability initiatives.

Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design (CUISD) was created in Spring 2009 to provide the greater Cooper Union community-—architects, engineers & artists-—with the cross-disciplinary knowledge and skills that are necessary to create a sustainable society, defined as one that prospers because its economy, social practices, physical infrastructure and engineering systems all work in harmony with the earth's resource limitations. The Institute engages in a mutually enlightening dialogue with larger intellectual and civic communities in order to foster a greater understanding of sustainability principles and practices throughout society.

THE MODEL BLOCK Exhibition is a SUSTAIN program, made possible through a generous award from the Rockefeller Foundation Cultural Innovation Fund.


The event is presented by The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design and Fourth Arts Block

Located at 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.