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

Photographer Paul Rabinowitz Captures Portraits of Artists in “Limited Light”

Paul Rabinowitz of Brooklyn, NY breaks the barriers of portrait photography in his collaborative series Limited Light. Working exclusively with other artists as his subjects, Rabinowitz attempts to visually portray each artist as what he likes to call, a “Modern Day Saint.”

“I guess what I’m trying to do is go beyond the physical being” explains Rabinowitz. The Limited Light series has now branched off into multiple collaborative projects, creating a ripple effect of artwork that combines his photography with art forms practiced by his subjects. Painters, dancers, actors and poets have contributed to this now evolving project.

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Rabinowitz’s process for this series is carefully designed to insure an authentic, yet intimate result. “All of what I do happens organically” the photographer explains. These photographs are all taken in natural light, utilizing no lighting equipment and taken in black and white. After the photos are taken, Rabinowitz stresses it is crucial he does not manipulate the photos with editing and retouching. Additionally, each shot is taken within a one hour session. Rabinowitz goes into each of these sessions asking “How can I  figure out who you are through the shoot?

Another distinct requirement for these sessions are how he chooses his subjects. Rather than basing the decision off of looks or being “photogenic”, Rabinowitz explains that it is solely inspired by the artist’s work. Whether they are a writer, painter, or jewelry maker- it is the art that precedes the subject. Rabinowitz shares of instances where he inquired about a Limited Light session without knowing what the artist looked like, and only knowing their artwork.

“I’m trying to sketch [the artist] in sixty minutes through the camera” says Rabinowitz. The essence of what is being captured, he shares, correlates with the subject’s own artwork.

As of last year, Rabinowitz is in the process of an extensive collaboration with a painter in Utah who takes the photographer’s photos and imposes artwork onto it to create different characters. This project is still under development, and will soon be cultivated into a more elaborate series that includes poetry as well.

To find out more about Limited Light, follow updates on Paul Rabinowitz’s blogspot.