New York is opening back up slowly but entertainment was still in limbo. The states highest elected official has given his cosign for a special series of performances.
Today (Monday, February 8) Governor Andrew M. Cuomo marshalled the return of the performing arts to New York with “NY PopsUp.” This series of events, intended to revitalize the spirit and emotional well-being of New York citizens with the energy of live performance while jumpstarting New York’s struggling live entertainment sector, is a private / public partnership overseen by producers Scott Rudin and Jane Rosenthal, in coordination with the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and Empire State Development (ESD).
The Festival will serve as a “pilot program,” creating the state’s first large-scale model for how to bring live performance back safely after this prolonged COVID-related shutdown. The programming for NY PopsUp will be curated by the interdisciplinary artist Zack Winokur, in partnership with a hand-selected council of artistic advisors who represent the diversity of New York’s dynamic performing arts scene and artistic communities. NY PopsUp will launch on Saturday, February 20 and run through Labor Day.
“Cities have taken a real blow during COVID, and the economy will not come back fast enough on its own – we must bring it back,” Governor Cuomo said. “Creative synergies are vital for cities to survive, and our arts and cultural industries have been shut down all across the country, taking a terrible toll on workers and the economy. We want to be aggressive with reopening the State and getting our economy back on track, and NY PopsUp will be an important bridge to the broader reopening of our world-class performance venues and institutions. New York has been a leader throughout this entire pandemic, and we will lead once again with bringing back the arts.”
The events produced by NY PopsUp, in addition to being free of charge, will be staged across every type of neighborhood and district in all five boroughs of New York City, throughout upstate and into Western New York. As the current realities of COVID-19 make mass gatherings and large, destination-style events impossible, NY PopsUp will meet New York City and State residents where they are, infusing their daily lives with the surprise and joy of live performance. The hundreds of free, pop-up events that constitute NY PopsUp will make stages out of New York’s existing landscapes, including iconic transit stations, parks, subway platforms, museums, skate parks, street corners, fire escapes, parking lots, storefronts, and upstate venues, transforming everyday commutes, local communities, and locations never used for performances into canvases of awe and exhilaration.
The public will encounter a range of artists representing all areas of performance – from theater to dance, from poetry to comedy, from pop music to opera, and so much more. Among the confirmed artists are Chris Rock, Q-Tip, Billy Porter, Phoebe Robinson, Jerrod Carmichael and many others. The events themselves will ignite imaginative collisions of different artforms.
NY PopsUp is being coordinated in lock step with state public health officials and will strictly adhere to Department of Health (DOH) COVID-19 protocols. You can find more information here.
Photo: NY PopsUp