The inaugural day of free admission to museums, special programs for all ages, artmaking, crafts for kids, and more will highlight New York City’s newest cultural destination on the
New York, NY, updated September 19, 2023 — The West Side Cultural Network—a group of more than 20 museums, parks, performing arts centers, and cultural institutions located within a half-mile portion of historic New York—is presenting the first-ever West Side Fest, a day of free admission, special indoor and outdoor programming, crafts for kids, artmaking for all ages, an evening dance party, and more to welcome all New Yorkers to their vibrant, exciting, cultural village along the waterfront.
The September 30 event highlights the city’s newest cultural destination on the western edge of Manhattan, a historic area with a welcoming and unique mix of fresh, fun activities, open gathering spaces, and more. The neighborhood—a gathering space for New Yorkers still recovering and coming back together—includes organizations that have been on the West Side for decades as well as newer arrivals with more to come—including the soon-to-open 5.5-acre Gansevoort Peninsula in Hudson River Park.
Some events planned for the day include:
- Free admission, neighborhood tours, and artmaking for kids from 11 am to 3 pm at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Several exhibitions on view, including a permanent collection show with works by Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jay DeFeo, Alexander Calder, Lee Krasner, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, and more.
- Free admission and tours of newly opened exhibitions for the fall season, Art Deco: Commercializing the Avant-Garde and We Tried to Warn You! Environmental Crisis Posters, 1970–2020 will be available at Poster House, plus live performances and printing activities for all ages at Hudson River Park’s Pier 63 (at W 23 St.)
- The SUBMERGE Marine Science Festival at Hudson River Park’s 84 (at S 44 St.) is free and open to all! Come experience wildlife art projects, family-friendly live entertainment, and more.
- A puppet show, open studios, and live music at Westbeth Artists Housing.
- A Creative Break, free art-making activities for all ages at Little Island.
- An Open Rehearsal with Rattlestick Playwrights Theater at West Village Rehearsal Co-op.
- An evening block party at The Shed featuring dance sets by The Dragon Sisters in partnership with Poster House and Ladies of Hip-Hop in partnership with Chelsea Factory, as well as ongoing DJ sets by Riobamba, BEARCAT, and Ashley Venom.
- A free film festival at The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center in partnership with Queer Voices NYC that centers & celebrates Queer-BIPOC voices.
- A presentation of Arthur Russell’s 1973 composition “City Park” at the New York City AIDS Memorial Park.
- A free exhibition of paintings, archival materials, audiovisual elements, and ephemera by multidisciplinary artist Matthew Lutz-Kinoy presented by The Kitchen.
- Free admission and exhibition tours at the Rubin Museum of Art, and a drop-in art workshop from 1 pm to 3 pm led by art therapy graduate students from New York University.
- A poetry reading on the High Line inspired by Pamela Rosenkranz’s Plinth commission Old Tree, featuring New York-based poets.
- The opening of solo exhibition by artist and choreographer Ligia Lewis at Center for Art, Research and Alliances, featuring a live performance of the artist’s newest work.
- A celebration for the opening of The Sea, the Sky, a Window: A Project by Sarah Crowner at the Hill Art Foundation from 11 am to 5 pm. Visitors will have the exciting opportunity to learn about the exhibition from Foundation staff and Teen Educators.
- An exhibition of work by artist Nate Lewis exploring history through patterns, textures, and rhythm presented by New York Live Arts, on view in The Ford Foundation Live Gallery, free and open to the public from 10 am to 9 pm.
West Side Fest is conveniently accessible by subway, bus, the High Line, bike, or car. More information and complete listing of events can be found at the event website at westsidefest.nyc.
“The Hudson River’s West Side is a dynamic cultural hub,”Said Jane Carey, Director of Government and Community Affairs at the Whitney Museum of American Art and a lead planner of West Side Fest.
“We are thrilled to celebrate this community and offer New Yorkers a full day of free creative activities and beautiful views during the first-ever West Side Fest. Each year, millions of people are brought together by the dozens of arts organizations, parks, and performance centers in the area, sparking curiosity, giving space for conversations, and providing joy—all while driving societal and economic progress. Cultural communities like the West Side solidify New York as a global arts destination. At the Whitney, we are proud to be part of this vibrant, growing community dedicated to arts and culture!”
“West Side Fest is a culmination of four years of deep, organic collaboration between the West Side Cultural Network, a growing and dedicated number of neighborhood cultural anchor institutions defined by a non-hierarchical, democratic, shared leadership model,”Said Tamara McCaw, Chief Civic Program Officer at The Shed.
“Our cross-institution community building groundwork has seeded a strong foundation to reimagine new, more equitable, joyful, and nourishing ways of engagement—serving our local neighbors, and all New Yorkers, while also supporting the cultural workers of the member institutions. With West Side Fest, the Network’s first public event, we are thrilled to open ourselves and our doors to New York as not only an individual institution but as part of a community of organizations committed to purpose-driven community and people-centered programming.”
“As one of the younger museums participating in West Side Fest, it’s been a pleasure collaborating with institutions of all sizes to share skills and resources to create an amazing program for the city that we love to bring together,”Said Salvador Muñoz, Associate Director of Public Programs and Outreach at Poster House.
“We are so proud to celebrate the West Side as a historic and vibrant cultural destination for New Yorkers of all ages with a day full of activities that support creativity, diversity, imagination, and fun.”
West Side Fest is made possible thanks to a sense of community and partnership that extends to generous local sponsors, including Chelsea Market, Dinamo Typefaces, the Meatpacking Business Improvement District, Pier 57, Wix Playground, which donated the event website and is located across the street from the Whitney Museum, and acclaimed firm COLLINS, which developed the West Side Fest brand and design program.
The West Side Cultural Network is a website group of over 20 organizations that includes the Atlantic Theater Company, Center for Art, Research and Alliances, Chelsea Factory, Dia Chelsea, the High Line, Hill Art Foundation, Hudson River Park, The Joyce Theater, The Kitchen, Little Island, The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, New York City AIDS Memorial, New York Live Arts, Poster House, Print Center New York, the Rubin Museum of Art, The Shed, Westbeth, West Village Rehearsal Co-Op, White Columns, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
The West Side boasts a wide range of unique offerings to explore in the neighborhood, including restaurants, shopping, and free programming across the Meatpacking District for visitors to enjoy throughout the day. Chelsea Market, which serves as the bridge between the iconic Chelsea and Meatpacking neighborhoods, offers a variety of authentic cuisines and an expansive marketplace for local and artisanal goods. Located within Hudson River Park at West 15th Street, Pier 57 is a year-round community destination that celebrates New York City’s culinary and cultural diversity with plentiful public and community spaces to gather for a waterfront experience filled with food, art, culture, nature, and more.
Thank you to our founding West Side Fest partners: Chelsea Market, Collins, Dinamo, Meatpacking Business Improvement District, Pier 57 and Wix Playground.
For press materials and image requests, please contact:
Ashley Reese, Director of Communications
Whitney Museum of American Art
Whitney Press Office
Photograph by Max Touhey