The 16th annual River to River Festival — Lower Manhattan’s annual, free summer arts celebration — kicks off today (Wednesday, June 14) with an opening celebration at Pier A Harbor House (from 6:00 to 8:00 pm) and continues through Sunday, June 25.
Between this evening and a week from Sunday, the festival will include more than 100 performances and events at 31 unique sites across Lower Manhattan and Governors Island.
Tonight’s inaugural event at Pier A, by the Dance Cartel (presented as part of the R2R Living Rooms series) will feature live dance and music, with audience participation definitely encouraged.
The River to River Festival was founded in 2002 by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), South Street Seaport, the Alliance for Downtown New York, Arts Brookfield, Battery Park City Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and American Express. Its purpose is to “provide world-class free summer entertainment and to inspire residents, workers and visitors in the neighborhoods south of Chambers Street and at Governors Island by connecting them to the best of the arts, the creative process, unique places and each other.”
Andrew Hamingson, president of the LMCC reflects that, “River To River is a platform for diverse voices and untold stories. The Festival explores Lower Manhattan and nearby Governors Island with forward-thinking, boundary-blurring artists across all disciplines, to reveal both new and existing — but often overshadowed — contemporary narratives about the waterfront, the built environment and the past, present and future of our neighborhood.”
Some highlights from the upcoming program are:
* “A Marvelous Order,” by Judd Greenstein, Joshua Frankel, Will Rawls, and Tracy K. Smith: A multimedia opera about the battle between Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs over the fate of New York. (Fulton Center; June 15 – 18; 7:00 to 7:30 pm)
* “Rivers of Sound — Not Two,” by Amir EISaffar: Album-release concert for the Rivers of Sound orchestra’s debut album, “Not Two.” Mr. ElSaffar, an acclaimed composer, trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist brings together 17 musicians from a broad spectrum of traditions. (28 Liberty Plaza; June 16, 6:00 to 8:00 pm)
* “Paramodernities #2 and #3,” by Netta Yerushalmy: The renowned choreographer and performer presents two performances devoted to Martha Graham’s “Night Journey (#2)” and Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations (#3).” (National Museum of the American Indian at One Bowling Green; June 15, 3:00 t0 4:15 pm and 6:00 to 7:15 pm, and June 19, 3:00 to 4:15 pm)
* “A Supple Perimeter,” by Kameelah Janan Rasheed: Installation, photography, performance, publications, and printmaking. This exhibit engages viewers with figurative and literal language to interrogate how we read, write, consume, and distribute African-American history. (LMCC Arts Center on Governors Island; June 15 through 25; noon to 5:00 pm)
* “If/Then” and “Questions” by Kameelah Janan Rasheed: a rotating exhibit of posters and textual word pairings posted on a marquee (both in spaces once used for advertising and public announcements) that aim to provoke and engage. Installed on the façade of the historic Fort Jay Theater on Governors Island. On view every day, through September 25, during Governors Island public hours.
“LMCC and the Festival are identifying and illuminating local, pressing artistic and social issues in the global context of New York City,” adds Mr. Hamingson. “With the Festival, we carry on an ever-important legacy of artists making work in and for the public sphere, particularly in Lower Manhattan, and we are committed to continuing to offer this free programming to all audiences.”
In conjunction with the River to River Festival, more than a dozen Lower Manhattan museums and cultural destinations will open their doors and welcome visitors free of charge next Tuesday (June 20), from 4:00 to 8:00pm.
Participants include the 9/11 Tribute Museum, the South Street Seaport Museum, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Museum of American Finance, the China Institute, and African Burial Ground National Monument, Federal Hall National Memorial, Fraunces Tavern, National Archives at New York City, National Museum of the American Indian, National September 11 Memorial Museum, NYC municipal Archives, Poets House and the Skyscraper Museum.
Space at some venues may be limited, so attendees are urged to reserve free tickets in advance. For more information, please browse: NightAtTheMuseums.org.
For more information about the River to River Festival, please browse: lmcc.net/program/river-to-river/