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West Side Fest to be a day for art, culture, park and more

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | With free museum entrances, wheatpaste postering on the High Line, queer films and a “controversial” concert — plus some live eels and toads — the first annual West Side Fest is set for Sat., Sept. 30.

The force behind the fest is the West Side Cultural Network (WSCN), a group of more than 20 museums, parks, performing arts centers and cultural institutions stretching from the West Village and Meatpacking District up through Chelsea.

WSCN’s stated mission is “to ensure New Yorkers know they have access to the myriad, dynamic cultural offerings along the Hudson River and the adjoining neighborhoods.”

Poets will read at The Plinth on the High Line. (Photo by Timothy Schenck, courtesy of the High Line.)

It will be a full day of events, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Rubin Museum will both be offering free admission.

In addition to the Whitney’s current permanent collection show, including Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jay DeFeo, Alexander Calder, Lee Krasner, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol and more, the museum will host a special open studio led by artist Dindga McCannon in its theater from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at which families and kids can create fabric collages and experiment with printmaking inspired by her work. There will be interactive gallery tours for families and kids, plus a 45-minute Whitney neighborhood arts walk at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

There will be a “Queer Voices” film festival at the L.G.B.T. Center. Poster House on Pier 63 in Hudson River Park will have live screen printing and letterpress printing, while on the High Line, people can do interactive wheatpaste postering on a wall. A poetry reading will happen on the High Line at W. 30th Street from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Also in Hudson River Park, parkgoers can check out the SUBMERGE marine science festival and meet eels, toads and oysters up close at Pier 84, the fest’s northernmost end at W. 43rd Street. “City Park,” a “controversial early concert” by cellist Arthur Russell, will be performed at the NYC AIDS Memorial.

Meanwhile, Little Island will host a creative music jam that parkgoers can participate in, with “music makers” provided. Nearby at Westbeth, there will be artists’ studio tours, while the courtyard will have an art, craft and vintage market, and there will be live music throughout the day. Closing out the fest festivities, The Shed, in Hudson Yards, will host a “block party” from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. with dance sets by The Dragon Sisters and Ladies of Hip-Hop, plus DJ’s like Bearcat and Ashley Venom cuing the tunes. For the full schedule of events, click here.

Participating organizations include the Atlantic Theater Company, Center for Art, Research and Alliances (CARA), Chelsea Factory, Dia Chelsea, the High Line, Hill Art Foundation, Hudson River Park, The Joyce Theater, The Kitchen, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, Little Island, New York Live Arts, NYC AIDS Memorial, Poster House, Print Center New York, The Shed, Westbeth, West Village Rehearsal Co-Op, White Columns and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Although it’s still expected to be a bit rainy on Saturday, the West Side Fest — many of whose events will be indoors — will happen rain or shine.

For more information, click here.

One Comment

  1. Carol Yost Carol Yost September 30, 2023

    Unfortunately, it looks as if it will be seriously rainy tomorrow. Plan for the indoor activities. What a tremendous event this promises to be, in any case!

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