Lower East Side Festival of the Arts 2024– “Democracy: Use it or Lose it.”

The 2024 Lower East Side Festival of the Arts is set to take place the weekend of May 24-26 featuring lots of local artists.

| 25 Apr 2024 | 12:44

The Festival of Arts returns to the Lower East Side this spring. From May 24-26, city goers can enjoy a wide variety of artists of all kinds— puppeteers, poets, film-makers, performers, and many others. This year, the festival is concentrated on the theme of “Democracy: Use it or Lose it.”

The celebration will be centered around the Theater for the New City on 155 First Avenue on E. 10th Street. There is no admission fee, but donations are welcomed.

Although missing one year (2020) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Festival of the Arts has been an annual tradition on the downtown scene since June, 1996. Designed to draw tourists to the city, the showcase of art has now been a staple of the Lower East Side’s culture and tourism appeal for almost thirty years.

Attendees of the festival can expect a medley of music, film, dance, theater, performance, and literary artists throughout the three day event. On Saturday afternoon, programming will include a designated time for performances created by kids for kids. On the same day from 1:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. the event will feature a film program highlighting the spirit of the East Village/Lower East Side neighborhood through the works of local filmmakers.

The theme of the festival will be captured through plays and acts written specifically for the event. In addition, notable figures such as actor and playwright Austin Pendleton, composer David Amram, and actress Penny Arcade will give performances that play onto the theme of democracy.

Much of the writing featured at the festival is created exclusively for the event. Some writers featured include Anne Lucas, Alberto Ferreras, Barbara Kahn, Bina Shariff, Barbara Herr, David Willinger, Elizabeth Ruf, Lissa Moira, Miguel Loyola, Toby Armour, and Vinnie Ardello, among many others.

Scenes from the plays “The Coming Storm,” “Issue #9,” ”Broken Chains,” ”Flies,” “A Ribbon for the Birthday Girl,” and “Aftershock” along with works by Peter Welch, Robin Goldfin, and Roman Primitivo will be performed by theater ensembles. Some of which include Bond Street Theater, Chinese Theater Works, Cobu, Ego Actus, National Yiddish Theater, Textile Theater Company, and Wise Guide.

Performers not part of a group will be showcasing their talent solo as well. Individuals such as Alec Harrington, Bryce Payne, Christine Stoddard, Evan Laurence, Jeff Davis, Mila Levine, Steven Harris, Tym Moss, and Veena Shetty will be taking the stage as actors.

Dance and song is also a significant portion of the world of art; many contributors will lead the festival in their craft. Dancers such as Alessandra Belloni, Carol Tandava, Infinity Dance Theater, Rod Rodgers Dance Company, and Thunderbird American Indian Dancers are featured. Musicians will join in with their talents; some of which includes Amelia Sasson, Citizens United Protest Band, Donald Arrington, Janice Lowe, Judy Gorman, Liz Magnes, Lower East Side Performing Arts, Mimi Block, Richard West, Rita Constanzi, and Sylvan Lorrow.

Attendees of the festival looking for a laugh can enjoy comedy sets from Hollie Harper and Zoe Gray. Even a unique form of art, magic, will be showcased through the talents of The Great Dubini.

Spoken word takes the stage again in the form of poetry, with countless poets’ work being featured. Austin Alexis, Stan Baker, Didi Champagne, Faceboy, Bobby Hieger, Ron Kolm, Prince A. McNally, Lola Rodriguez, John Sarno, Nate Smith, and Richard Watson are just a few of the poets featured in the festival.

Performances will take place both indoors, inside of the theater, as well as outdoors. As visitors stroll through the festival, they can enjoy food and drink from vendors of nearby restaurants. Though the agenda is already jam-packed with lots of excitement and outstanding artists, the festival directors note that the event is still expanding.