Since 1919, The New School has been home to scholars, creators, and activists who challenge convention and boldly make their mark on the world.
To celebrate this groundbreaking legacy, we are opening our doors to the public for a weeklong festival of innovative performances, talks, workshops, screenings, exhibitions, and more.

On October 1–6, 2019, join us as we reflect on a century of world-changing ideas and together imagine a new kind of future.

The Festival of New is free and open to all.

William T. Ayton

William T. Ayton is a British artist based in New York, born and raised in rural Yorkshire & Lancashire, England. Ayton attended Edinburgh College of Art where he studied Fine Arts (B.A. Honours in Drawing & Painting). After college, he lived & worked in Europe (Paris, Madrid, Edinburgh, 1980 - 1994), before moving to Brooklyn & Rhinebeck, NY, with his wife & three children. While dedicated as their primary caregiver (2008 - 18), he was prolific in creating artwork daily in his upstate studio. Best known for his work addressing global social justice, The War Room, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights art series, his work has been reproduced and exhibited widely.

Artist Statement:

My work deals with social issues of the human condition, classic mythologies & unbridled imagination, blending diverse influences with meditations on these recurrent themes, infused with emotional resonance & empathy. I seek to cast away the flawed history of humankind, and contribute what I can to gradually help replace its depiction with a more equitable, thoughtful & empathic vision of our world & society. I see the art-making process as an extension of ongoing inquiry and expression of world views, as a way to iterate ideas and evolve emotions, and as a path to develop myself as an artist, thinker & human being. 

Moving forward, I am beginning to work with augmented reality and other new media to create large-scale, interactive digital and massive installations, designed and contextualized in specific geographies and sites. Creating colossal, imaginary pieces that fuse illusion, mirage, & hidden visibilities aim to saturate the viewing field and engender inspiring & overwhelming imagery. This new direction will build on and incorporate my work in conventional media, primarily paintings & drawings, both as preliminary studies for the large constructs and as stand-alone pieces. My pilot AR installation piece is currently in development, envisioned initially as part of The New School’s Centennial “Festival of the New,” as an homage to New York City as a global center for towers of knowledge, creative freedom, enterprise, and in-gathering. Activated in and around Union Square Park in NYC, it will feature AR elements including: multi-story Tower of Babel 2.0, Trees of Life & Knowledge, a spherical globe of an emergent world hovering in orbit above Babel, billboard-sized panels reinterpreting the Four Freedoms, wrap-around  ribbon of UDHR images illuminating universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, multilingual spoken words and sounds. The intention is to follow this NYC work with AR installations customized to diverse landscapes: the Arizona desert and borderlands, fragile and endangered ecosystems, indigenous and marginalized communities, and historic sites & landmarks around the world as centers of reconciliation, reparation, reclamation, and regeneration.