First Look: Boston celebrates new arts space Lawn On D, reveals Sound Of Our Town festival

Credit: Paul Armstrong for Vanyaland

South Boston is giving “lawn seats” a whole new meaning.

The Lawn On D, a new outdoor and interactive music, arts, and leisure space was christened earlier today by Mayor Marty Walsh and others on the eve of its public opening tomorrow afternoon. The 2.7-acre grass space — situated along D Street in South Boston, just at the edge of the Seaport District — is officially part of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, and will be the source of community-driven programming for approximately 18 months. With free wi-fi, available games, and a focus on community involvement, Lawn On D will serve as a testing ground for some new arts initiatives in Boston, with an eye on planning a new permanent outdoor space as part of the upcoming BCEC expansion.

“By having the Lawn On D, we’re taking another step in having the city be more innovative,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh at today’s media event, which kicks off two days of opening ceremonies that extends to tomorrow’s public unveiling. “It’s another step in showcasing our city… giving people places to come, giving kids places to come.”

Walsh then added: “It gives the neighborhood a sense of pride.”

Highlighting the first round of events at Lawn On D is the Vanyaland-curated Sound of Our Town music festival, a free event on October 4 that will kick off the 2014 Boston Music Awards season. The event will feature national and local musicians with strong ties to the city’s music scene, as well as interactive programming, DJs, and musical art installations throughout the all-day event. More details on that in the coming weeks.

Other notable events include Mmmmaven’s Today Festival on September 13, bringing an electronic music festival similar to New York’s Mister Sunday and Barcelona’s Sonar By Day, to the area, and a Bowery Boston one-day fest on September 19.

Upcoming non-music programming includes a Red Sox “Baseball Night” on September 4 with the game against the Yankees projected on a big screen, a Future Boston panel discussion on cultural growth on September 12, and Illuminus D, a three-day spectacle of light, sound, and projection art October 9 to 11 by Boston creative studio Materials & Methods. There will also be a D Street Art Lab boasting an array of installations from local and globally recognized organizations.

Most of the programming will be free and open to the public, but there will be some ticketed events. For a full list of upcoming programming and events, click here.

Here’s a look at the space from today’s media event, which featured food trucks (including our faves Roxy’s Grilled Cheese), a picnic area, ping-ping tables, a food tent, and a live performance from Sound of Our Town representative Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents. Mayor Walsh accepted a challenge from executive director and MCAA spokesperson James E. Rooney to partake in the space’s first official game of bocce.