A new year, a new list of happenings to look forward to in Greater Boston. In art, science, and technology, 2019 is shaping up to be another big year for innovation in our city, with new spaces, collaborations, exhibitions, and more on the horizon. To kick things off, we've rounded up a list of 19 things we can't wait to see in the new year.
Need some cuddles in 2019? Boston Dynamics’ robotic dog, SpotMini, goes on sale to the public this year, with the company promising to produce 1000 ’bots by mid year. While Spot is being targeted for use by companies for things like transport and security at this stage (rather than as your family’s new friendly companion), we’re looking forward to all of the user-generated content that is likely going to come out of this.
Positioned as the next iteration of Harvard’s series of Labs (iLab, Life Lab, etc.) the ArtLab is poised to be an important addition to the Greater Boston arts scene. The 9,000 square-foot building will house performance and recording studios, as well as other more flexible spaces for artistic experimentation, and affirms the importance of artistic innovation within the Harvard community and beyond — something we couldn’t agree with more.
There’s no question that artificial intelligence is going to massively impact our future — and Greater Boston is getting ready. Northeastern University president Joseph Aoun believes Boston is perfectly positioned to become the global hub for artificial intelligence, and MIT has plans to open a new college this fall that is fully dedicated to preparing students to create and utilize AI, as well as understand its social and ethical implications.
Now + There, a 501c3 dedicated to creating impactful public art projects in Greater Boston, never fails to surprise and inspire us with their thoughtful public art projects, and we can’t wait to see what their accelerator cohort has in store for us in 2019. The diverse range of media and artists represented (including HUBweek ’18 speaker Dell Hamilton and artist Pat Falco!) are sure to keep helping us see this city in new ways.
In honor of City Hall’s 50th anniversary this past year, the city announced a call for artists, architects, and designers to reimagine the brutalist structure. The top selections will be on display in the Mayor’s Gallery throughout the month of February, and since City Hall Plaza has been HUBweek’s home the last two years, we’re especially thrilled to see new, out-of-the-box ways to bring the space to life.
Last year, NASA announced the crew of nine astronauts who will pilot the first test flights of Boeing and SpaceX’s new commercial spacecraft, set to launch in mid 2019. One member is no stranger to outer space, or to the Boston area — Needham’s Sunita Williams, who will be making her third trip to the International Space Station. 2019 also happens to be the 50th anniversary of humankind’s first steps on the moon, so we’re looking forward to a whole host of out of this world space-related events this year.
The artists behind the vibrant, colorful, and Instagram-friendly pop-ups that debuted in the Fenway this past year, Nicole Fichera and Project Runway Season 15 winner Erin Robertson, are already sourcing ideas for what they’ll do next in 2019. Whether it’s another transformative use of space for the community or something wildly different, we’re here for it.
We got a sneak peak, and man, this space is going to be gorgeous. Designed by WBUR to be a new cultural venue in the city, the CitySpace comes equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to host everything from public radio experiences to intimate gatherings and film screenings — and more importantly — events that bring people together to “thoughtfully discuss this era’s abundance of political and cultural issues.” It is slated to open in March.
Hosted by The Urban Labs, Inter(x) is a new interactive presentation style meant to highlight diverse speakers’ unique perspectives and make the invisible visible. The Urban Labs previewed the concept at HUBweek 2018, and will launch a full conference experience this fall at MIT. Details to be announced.
A record number of women ran for elected office — and won! — last November, many of them in Massachusetts. Going into 2019, both our national and state legislatures will include a record number of women, including several first-time candidates. And, last week, Rachael Rollins was sworn in as Suffolk County’s new District Attorney, and MA-7’s Ayanna Pressley began her first congressional term in Washington. We’re excited for this new generation of political leadership in the state, and the nation, and can’t wait to see what these amazing women accomplish this year.
The much-lauded, highly Instagrammable contemporary co-working space for women officially announced they’ll be opening up a spot in the Back Bay come 2019. The first space of its kind in Boston, The Wing is dedicated to the “advancement of women through community,” and will be part incubator/accelerator, part social club, and part event space.
We were totally obsessed with the MFA’s “#techstyle” exhibition from 2016, so we’re extra pumped for this upcoming fashion-centered show. Opening in March, “Gender Bending Fashion” will “examine a rich history of fashion disrupting, blurring, and redefining conventions and expectations around the relationship between gender and dress,” and explore societal shifts in gender expression, featuring pieces created by groundbreaking designers and worn by style icons like David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix.
2018 was a year of unicorns in Greater Boston, with several new companies reaching $1 billion valuations (shoutout to Formlabs, PillPack, Toast, Actifio, and more). And, venture capital totals in Boston surpassed New York City’s for the first time. We can’t wait to see what local entrepreneurs do next to continue this momentum. As for the next unicorns? Boston Magazine’s got its eyes on Acquia, 128 Technology, Starry, and a few others.
The Watershed, the Institute of Contemporary Art’s new space in East Boston, wowed us in 2018 with its immersive inaugural show, so we’re more than ready for the pipe factory-turned-gallery to re-open in May for its second season. Featuring a six-channel video installation by artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah, the exhibition promises to be like nothing we’ve ever seen before.
Calling all Boston foodies: A Time Out food hall is coming to the historic Landmark Center in the Fenway neighborhood this year, featuring 16 culinary vendors, outdoor patios, bars, a cooking school, and a retail store. The market promises to showcase Boston’s best chefs and mixologists, and is one of several new, highly-anticipated food halls coming to the city in 2019. We’re getting hungry just thinking about it.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals has teamed up with Arbor Biotechnologies, a biotech startup co-founded by CRISPR inventor Feng Zhang, to develop a new triple-drug cocktail that could be used to treat up to 90% of cystic fibrosis cases, including patients with genetic mutations that Vertex has been unable to help thus far. The treatment relies on Cas13d, an RNA-altering enzyme that’s less potentially dangerous than Cas9, and an FDA application is scheduled for mid-2019 — we’ll be on the lookout.
2018 saw the opening of the state’s first recreational marijuana dispensaries, but experts are saying that 2019 will be year we see “what a real market looks like” and how regulatory decisions made over the past several years shake out. The path to legalization has been rocky, with lively debate about every step of the legalization and regulation process, so it will certainly be interesting to see what the first full year of legal cannabis sales will bring.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus, one of the “20th century’s most influential school of art, architecture, and design,” Harvard is mounting a large-scale exhibition that will feature nearly 200 works, including some rarely seen drawings, prints, and photographs. After Harvard hosted the first ever Bauhaus exhibition in the U.S. back in 1930, we’re excited to see this legendary artistic institution in a new light in 2019.
Dates to be announced soon. Curious? Join the waitlist here.
What are you looking forward to in 2019? Let us know on Twitter @hubweek. Want to stay on top of this and other Greater Boston innovation news as it happens? Our weekly newsletter, the HUBweekly, has you covered. Sign up here.