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Last Thursday I had the pleasure of doing an early run-through of 251 Spring Street’s Color Factory, which opens to the public today. And let me tell you, it is THE happiest, best place on the planet! (Or at least in Manhattan, anyway.) Think: Pantone meets Willy Wonka.

As you may have guessed from its name, the experiential art exhibition (which opened in 2017 in San Francisco, but gained such huge popularity that they’ve kept the concept going) is dedicated to all things COLOR! Inside the 20,000 square-foot space there are sixteen different installations, all of which were born out of artists’ takes on the sensory overload that is NYC.  Featured artists and creatives include Lakwena Maciver, Alex Kalman / Mmuseumm, Jason Polan, Molly Young, Emanuelle Moureaux, Kendra Dandy, Christine Wong Yap, Kassia St. Clair, Tamara Shopsin, Randi Brookman Harris, Leah Rosenberg and Erin Jang.

It’s all interactive, and engages with all five senses – you can play music, dance, draw (and color, duh), eat and drink lots of different little treats, and (most importantly) immerse yourself in a visual feast of color! It is SO FUN!

When you arrive, you’ll be given a special QR card that can be scanned at camera stations throughout the exhibit – that way, you don’t have to do any of the heavy lifting re: selfies or Boomerangs; they’ll simply be sent to you by email. Of course, you’ll probably want to take plenty o’ ‘grams on your own, but remember to actually experience Color Factory, and not just look at it through a screen!

Personal favorites throughout the exhibition included a room full of wind-blown balloons, all of which had kids’ wishes (ranging from “world peace” to “unlimited pizza”) written on them, a narrow hallway filled with crazy-specific collections (like cornflakes from around the world, fake vomit from around the world, etc.) which you could learn more about by picking up the designated red telephone receivers, PLUS the piece de resistance, aka the huge-ass ball pit that came at the end! It gives blue balls an entirely new meaning. (There are plenty of camera stations within the ball pit to take selfies, so try not to bring your phone in there, because if you drop it…buddy, it’s not comin’ back to you.) And on the way out, you can grab a scoop of blue gelato! HOW GOOD IS THAT?!

I tried to move extra fast through the gift shop since everything was amazing and I wanted it all, and having just gotten back from Europe, I simply am NOT in a financial position to squander my pennies on aesthetically pleasing goodies. However, if YOU are in the market for great stuff, make sure to leisurely peruse!

However you choose to allocate your time within Color Factory (there is no limit for how long you can spend in each area), one thing is very clear: YOU NEED. TO GO. ASAP.

I honestly don’t know how else to say it. Go once, go twice, go many times – it is so worth it and so good and I don’t think I have ever fangirled for an exhibition this hard before. Grab $38 tickets here, and also be sure to grab a map on your way out of Color Factory to find other super rad installations hidden all over the city! The fun never ends!!!

All photos via Color Factory

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