Mark Your Calendars: Events Every Artist Should Attend This Summer

Whether it’s a festival or an exhibit, New York City is bursting with events this summer. Creative minds, grab your calendars and save the date(s) so that you experience authentic and exhilarating art and performance.

Blue Note Jazz Festival 


June 1-30, 2016 (See schedule)

Location: Various throughout the boroughs

Featuring: Kamasi Washington, Robert Glasper, Al Jarreau, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, Scofield / Mehldau / Giuliana, Rebirth Brass Band, Talib Kweli, McCoy Tyner, Ron Carter, Roy Haynes, Sangam: Charles Lloyd / Zakir Hussain / Eric Harland, Arturo Sandoval, Avishai Cohen, & more.

Brooklyn Film Festival

June 3-12, 2016

Location: Various Locations in Brooklyn (See Venues)

With this year’s theme being “Experiment”, the international and competitive festival features a diverse collection of screenings of contestants emerging in the film industry. The Brooklyn Film Festival’s goal is to highlight Brooklyn as a center for cinema making, as well as engage the public in independent film production. Single film tickets can be purchased, or a festival passes can be bought here

Museum Mile Festival

June 14th, 2016, 6-9pm

Location: Fifth Avenue from 82nd to 105th streets

A free event that allows art enthusiasts to loop 5th Avenue starting at and ending at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Other participating museums include El Museo del Barrio, The Jewish Museum, The Smithsonian Design Museum, Museum of the City of New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and The Neue Gallerie. In addition, various displays and interactive events will take place along 5th avenue during the event

River to River

June 16-26th, 2016

Location: Lower Manhattan (see schedule)

Run by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, River to River includes over 60 free events (some require RSVP, beginning June 1st) providing participants with  intimate and provocative dance, music, visual art, and new media projects in public parks, in historic landmarks, on Governors Island, and along the waterfront.


Midsummer Night Swing

June 21st-July 9th, 2016

Location: Lincoln Center

Each day of the festival, the dance floor opens from 6:00PM -10:00PM including styles of Latin, Swing, Disco, and R&B. The dance instruction includes a live music set, and on June 23rd and July 2nd the party ends with a free Silent Disco. Tickets can be purchased at the door each evening, or a festival pass can be purchased here

Fresh Fruit Festival

July 11th-24th, 2016

Location: The WILD Project Theater, 193 East 3rd Street

Annual Festival celebrating the arts of the LGBQ community.  Two weeks of day and night Theatre, Dance, Musicals, Cabaret, Art, and much more. Although an official calendar of events have not yet been released, 2015’s events included shows and exhibits from artists such as  Patrick Thomas McCarthy, Rachel Carson, Andy Chesterton, Obediah P. Wright, Judy Klass, and Kelli Dunham.


Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival

BHHF-Poster-Full--683x1024.pngJuly 13th-16th, 2016

Location: Brooklyn – Multiple Locations

In addition to musical performances, the Festival offers a number of activities for its audience, including: panel discussions, exhibitions, parties, film screenings and a family-friendly block party. The Festival is more than a concert or outdoor fair. It is a family reunion for lovers of this great culture. Four days of beats, rhymes, knowledge, film, photography, MCs, DJs, B-Boys, B-Girls, food, fashion and more. Buy tickets here




New York City Poetry Festival

July 30th-31st, 2016

Location: Governors Island, Manhattan

A two day event featuring over 250 poets and writers from reviews, workshops, magazines, collectives and organizations. The line-up currently includes The Adroit Journal, Apogee Journal, Black Lawrence Press, Blue Bonnet Review, Brooklyn Poets, Coast to Coast Poetry Press Collective, he Emily Dickinson Museum, Hidden House Press, Italian American Writers Association, Louffa Press, Miami University Press, Nauset Press, New York Writers Workshop, Pen Pal Poets, Poets of Corsi, Royal Blue Publishing, Urban Word NYC, and dozens more. Tickets are free, but must be reserved online

The Battery Dance Festival 

August 14-20, 2016, 6:30pm-8:30pm

Location: Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park – Battery Park City

New York City’s longest-running free public dance festival that provides the opportunity for professionals and emerging dancers to present original work for the public, including a wide range of styles including ballet, theatre, modern, Polish dance, Colombian dance, as well as boundary defying artistic genres. Official list of companies will be released in June.



Brooklyn Cartoon Artist Sharon Stokes Talks How To Remain Confident in Competitive Field


Aspiring cartoon artist and freelance illustrator Sharon Stokes has been drawing since childhood. “I used to draw on things I wasn’t supposed to” shares the 25-year old Brooklyn native. Now, with both social media and local shows, the artist has grown a following and a career in digital based artwork.


Stokes graduated from City College of New York with a BA in Studio Art in 2012. Her inspiration derives from anime artist Masashi Kishimoto , and first African American female cartoonist Jackie Ormes. Among these big time names, Stokes shares that the online community through social media has allowed her to thrive.
“Not everyone’s in museums, not everyone’s in history textbooks” Stokes shares. She says tools such as Facebook, instagram, and online galleries allows her to engage in community and exchange with artists she otherwise would not know.

Although the internet has offered numerous opportunities for Stokes, the young artist talks how it can be both a blessing and a curse. “The key is not to get too caught up in other people’s art” Stokes explains. “There’s a balance. Yeah there’s always going to be someone out there better than you, but you have to put your best out there at that moment.”
This strive for confidence permeates through her artwork. Her latest project in the works is a collection of affirmations, with pieces having titles such as “Speak Up” or “Breathe”. These personal mantras were created out of a need to get back to what really matters for Stokes. This particular collection will be featured at her next event, Pancakes and Booze, happening in Manhattan on April 28th.


Stokes also teaches art at P.S. 193 Gil Hodges Elementary School in Brooklyn along with her freelance work. What she teaches her students is to get out of their comfort zone by drawing everything, and not just what you know. Stokes’ hope is to someday work for a corporation such as Disney or Nickelodeon. “I was watching these shows on TV, and now I’m in an actual studio making them” Stokes shares she hopes to one day say. “It would be coming full circle.”

Follow Stokes’ Instagram for updates, or purchase art from her online store

CreativeNYC’s List of Top 5 Most Useful Books for Artists

Artists are typically the trend setters and rule breakers. However, though the instinct is to deviate from the norm, mentorship and growth are vital for artists being recognized and building a platform.

Aside from cultivating my craft, my personal journey in the art world consisted of delving into other’s artwork, and surrounding myself with other artists. This is vital in order to get connected and thrive in community.

Since the market for art is fluid, constantly altering, and rather unstable, knowing how to present your art and make these connections become a skill in and of itself. To do that, I hit the books to learn how other artists are propelling themselves and their art forward. Here is my list of Top 5 Books to learn about pursuing art

1. The Profitable Artist by Artspire


This book teaches practical skills in learning how to designate value to your work. It aids in knowing what most artists typically know little of, that is the laws, copyrights, and regulations that surround selling artwork and building a business. It teaches very tangible ways to connect with audiences, and how to constantly expand that audience into a broader circle outside of just the people you meet (using social media). Most importantly (for someone like me) it poses inventive ways to fund your art and thinking of how to (as the title suggests) be profitable from your art.




2. Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon


This near pocket-sized book unpacks the near impossible process of getting your work noticed in 10 concrete and sensible steps. The author speaks with a cheeky tone (one that I truly appreciated) to move through the tendencies and habits needed to being discovered and connecting with the people who will be vital to your journey. What Kleon emphasizes throughout the whole book is that the power to have your work discovered is in YOUR hands; that the ability must be self initiated and self-promotion is game changing when done correctly.


3. ART/WORK by Heather Darcy Bhandari


Authors Heather Darcy Bhandari, an art gallery director, and Jonathan Melber, an art lawyer, takes the reader through the hairy details of sponsorship, representation, and legalities in a simplified manner. This book is an outstanding tool in understanding exactly what details are required of artists to make a business out of their art. The authors share their own experiences, but also interview a wide spectrum of artists and curators to provide a vast and all-encompassing tool based off of experience and the current reality of the art-world.



4. Living and Sustaining a Creative Life Edited by Sharon Louden



This book is very different from the rest. Rather than instruction and steps, this book takes literary essays written by different types of artists to create a mosaic of stories. Each individual story shares the artist’s journey of expanding their art and becoming known. You hear from artists both hugely successfully, as well as tapping into the currents of the underground art realm. The stories share both small, intimate details of the artist’s process as well as those who share secrets and tips due to their own shortcomings and trails. Rather than reading front to back, this book is better read sporadically in fragments for jolts of inspiration along the way.


5. Art, Inc. by Lisa Congdon



This captivating book allows the reader to unpack “success” through their own unique standards rather than those set in the world. Additionally, it deconstructs the idea of the “starving artist” and challenges the reader to obliterate this idea entirely. It is a necessary tool for emerging artists to acquire the proper mentality in basing a career off of their artwork. It asks that the artist reading think in an innovative manner to share their work and push limits, paralleling the way in which they succeed to the art itself. This idea that the practical can also be creative is vital in breaking out of one’s comfort zone.

Authentic HeARTwork Artist and Founder Shares Story Through Colors

Within the halls of the Oyster Bay Public Library hang vibrant paintings by emerging artist Celicia Cargill of Kingston, Jamaica. Now residing in Long Island, the 33-year-old artist tells her story through paintings; a story she begun actively telling 3 years ago when “Authentic HeARTwork” was first founded.

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“I was picking up my kids from school one day, and I just started crying” Cargill shares of how she became in tune with her vision for HeARTwork. “I don’t know what it was, but I had this inkling to drive.” This drive, she shares, lead her to the first contact that propelled her vision into realization.

Cargill found herself that day at the community center in Massapequa, NY, where she mustered the courage to walk inside and introduce herself to Monica Higgins, the head of the Town of Oyster Bay Rotational Art Exhibit.

First initiated by the desire for a better life for her sons, Cargill currently has her artwork displayed in Roslyn Savings Banks in Syosset and Woodbury alongside the Oyster Bay Library (full list of exhibitions can be found here). For her first International event, Cargill is having her paintings displayed in Dubai at the World Trade Center from April 6th-9th.

Cargill made the bold decision to share her story of both immigrating to New York and pursuing her artwork in her book released last year titled Reset:My Notes on Life. “It introduces me, to myself” Cargill shares. “I have a responsibility with this gift, and I have to share my story.”

Celicia Cargill, with her painting featured on the cover of her book Reset

Cargill’s story and artwork is now being recognized by figures such as NAACP President Alicia Figueras. This month at the Brentwood Public Library in Islip, Cargill will be receiving the NAACP “HerStory” Celebration Award in an event that honors female artists of color. “I thought it was so fitting” Cargill shares. “Last month was Black History Month, yesterday was International Women’s Day, and today is a solar eclipse”

With the stars aligning for Celicia Cargill, this artist plans to continue engaging with her community and expanding her book Reset into a volume series.

Fellow painters can learn from Artist Celicia by joining her for a paint class. Follow her schedule on her website here to participate in her next Paint Party event.