Over the course of four weeks, New York City’s Little Island will host more than 460 artists in a marathon of 160 performances — all of which are free. Collected under the banner “NYC FREE,” the festival spans music, dance, poetry and comedy, and aims to “celebrate the creativity of New York City’s artists and the resilient spirit of all its people,” according to an announcement released Tuesday.
Shows are slated to take place across the new floating public park, located on the Hudson River by West 13th St. in Manhattan, starting Aug. 11. Performances at Little Island’s 687-seat amphitheater — dubbed “the Amph” — will be ticketed, with other events open to all park-goers.
Ali Stroker, Caleb Teicher, Conrad Tao, Georgina Pazcoguin, Hope Boykin, Larry Owens, Matthew Whitaker, Ballet Hispánico, Robert Garland, Misty Copeland, Ronald K. Brown, Michelle Buteau, Jenny Lin and Adam Tendler are among the curators and artists included in the festival, produced by Mikki Shepard.
“My experience has shown me that through listening to artists and investing in their creative process and curatorial practices we can reflect on the past, stand up for what we believe in, offer hope, and reimagine a future that is safe and joyful for all New Yorkers,” Shepard said in a statement.
The festival begins with a presentation of John Cage’s 1952 work “4’33”” on Aug. 11 at 11 a.m. Eastern. The piece will be performed by students of Third Street Music School Settlement, led by pianist Adam Tendler, over the course of the day and is scheduled to mark a moment of silence for New Yorkers who died or who lost a parent or guardian during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the festival announcement.
Other highlights during the four weeks of programming include a performance from Broadway’s Ali Stoker; “Stare Decisis (To stand by things decided),” curated by American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland and Dance Theatre of Harlem choreographer Robert Garland; and a new commission from composer Devonté Hynes, performed by String Orchestra of Brooklyn. ALL ARTS artist-in-residence Matthew Whitaker will perform as part of “Music in the Glade” Aug. 25 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. The showcase “JazzWomen!,” curated by drummer-composer Shirazette Tinnin, closes out the festival Sept. 5 in the Amph.
“NYC FREE” coincides with the end of the statewide NY PopsUp program, launched Feb. 20 at the Javits Center.
More information about performances and featured artists can be found on the Little Island website. The “NYC FREE” festival runs Aug. 11 through Sept. 5. Tickets for the performances in the Amph are now available. Timed entry reservations are required to enter the park after 12 p.m. Eastern.
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Top Image: Aerial view of Little Island from the Standard. Photo: Michael Grimm.