Weekend Kid’s Pick

Youth performances are from 2 to 5pm on Saturday

This weekend is the 16th Annual Lower East Side Festival of the Arts at the Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue (between 9th and 10th Streets). On Saturday, youth performances are from 2 to 5pm in the Johnson Theater and include dance, theater, music and art. Also on Saturday, an outdoor street festival runs from noon until 5 on Saturday along East 10th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues. For more details and a full listing of events, visit the Festival webpage.

Theater For the New City Ready to Kick off This Weekend’s LES Festival of the Arts

Artistic Director, Crystal Field, is ready for their 14th annual arts festival.

Artistic Director, Crystal Field, is ready for their 14th annual arts festival.

We stopped by to visit with Crystal Field, Theater For the New City’s executive director,as she finalized preparations for the Lower East Side Festival of the Arts.  Crystal has seen the neighborhood change dramatically since starting the community cultural center in 1986.

She told us: “That was when this area had a very bad reputation. All the struggling artists were moving here and we felt that it would be important to show the rest of the world that we were not just about criminals, vandalism and drugs, and that we really were a very important cultural part of the city.”  Twenty-three years later Theater for the New City is an institution.  With four theaters, ongoing art exhibits, poetry readings, community board meetings and more, there always seems to be something interesting happening.

Reflecting the economic hardship facing the community, this year’s theme is: “The Necessity of Art in Good Times and Bad”. The festival includes theatrical performances, film screenings, poetry, visual arts, childrens’ theater (some even written by children), booths for LES vendors, and more. Highlights will include performances by Tammy Grimes, Judy Gorman, Composer David Amran (“Splendor in The Grass” and “The Manchurian Candidate”), Penny Arcade and many more. The best part? It’s absolutely FREE.

For information and a schedule of the three day extravaganza, visit their website.