The School and Nightclub

Surrounded by the institutional pillars of the criminal justice system, including the Manhattan Detention Complex and New York City’s courthouses, Bring Down The Walls will occupy Firehouse, Engine Company 31, a historic, decommissioned fire station in Lower Manhattan run by Downtown Community Television Center.


By day, the space will offer new ways to engage with and learn about issues of mass incarceration and house music culture, including workshops, discussions, and classes. In addition to talks with advocates working in the field of criminal justice reform, workshops will be led by individuals who have experienced incarceration, upending conventional hierarchies around who is the expert and who is the educator.


Programs will be held on topics ranging from policy reform, life on the inside, and the challenges of parole to broader subjects like love, relationships, and freedom. Classes will also explore house music, dance, ballroom culture, music making, and DJing. Lastly, organizations will offer a variety of free legal services.


By night, the space will transform and function as a dance club and performance venue, celebrating house music as a communal experience and embracing the history of nightclubs as sanctuaries of togetherness and liberation. Nighttime programming will feature both live performances by the vocalists and musicians behind the album, as well as takeovers by individuals and collectives that represent New York City’s current, vibrant nightlife community.


A full schedule and list of participants is forthcoming.


Image: Vocalist Amanda Cruz during a project recording session in NYC. Photograph by Ana Kraš.