River to River Festival returns to downtown NYC June 7-23, 2024

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council presents the 23rd annual “River To River Festival,” taking place June 7 – 23, 2024. Celebrating local artists and honoring creative diversity across disciplines, the “River To River Festival” is Downtown New York City’s leading free summer arts festival.

This year’s “River To River Festival” aligns with LMCC’s 50th-anniversary celebrations. In honor of this milestone, the 2024 festival features LMCC residency and grants alumni from the Extended Life program working across disciplines, with a captivating array of dance, music, video, installation, and exhibitions that reflects the interdisciplinary, diverse ethos of LMCC. Featuring 13 projects of live art, performances and participatory events (including seven premieres) in public spaces throughout Downtown New York, the 2024 “River To River Festival” explores themes of resonance, reconsideration and resistance.

Events range from the local and participatory, the open and artistic, to the sweet and memory-laden, as in the cases of “Love for NYC Waterways: Stories from the Stoop,” in partnership with Billion Oyster Project, a Moth-style storytelling and open mic event that celebrates the legacy of the Blackwater stewards of New York, and Elisabeth Smolarz’s (2012 artist-in-residence) presentation of ice cream flavors inspired by her experiences during her 2012 artist residency on Governors Island. These flavors will celebrate the friendships and artist communities she formed during that time, as well as the distinctive features of the island itself, such as the weeping willow tree, the lavender fields, and the beloved Governors Island sheep: Flour, Sam, Evening, Chad, and Philip Aries.

Other highlights include Samita Sinha’s June 20 performance of “Tremor.” This special iteration of Samita Sinha’s “Tremor” is performed in duet with Cecilia Vicuña. Presented in the historic and resonant space of Federal Hall, Sinha and Vicuña infuse their vibrations and lineages into the dense history and monumentality of the site, opening other ways of sensing, knowing, being, and being together.

Honored this year with LMCC’s 2024 Sam Miller Award for Performing Art, celebrated choreographer Miguel Gutierrez will present “THE POWER OF THE BOUNCE” on June 7. An interactive, high-energy dance performance complete with group choreography, aerobics, and costumes, come in costume and learn the famous “Aerobicon” dance that Miguel created to Le Tigre’s “Deceptacon” in 2000. Miguel will revive this dance and create a powerful public spectacle reminiscent of the cardiovascularly challenging and spiritually charged but now defunct DEEP AEROBICS technique that he taught and disseminated for ten years.

Doing more than double duty, choreographer mayfield brooks will present two works–whale fall abyss in the cargo hold of the Tall Ship Wavertree, calling up ghosts and ancestors from the intersecting histories of whalers and slave ships, and whale fall reckoning in the Upper Gallery of The Arts Center at Governors Island. Using found objects, sound, light, movement and projection, brooks conjures an abyssal underwater world that transforms the formerly munitions storage warehouse into an imagined site of the decomposed whale. Both presentations are a culmination of brooks’ project Whale Fall, originally commissioned by Abrons Arts Center and virtually premiered as an experimental dance film in 2021 during the height of the Covid-19 epidemic.

Dates, times and locations subject to change—be sure to check www.LMCC.net/R2R for up-to-date information. Please note that all events are free, but due to limited capacity some require advance registration.

ABOUT RIVER TO RIVER FESTIVAL

Created in the aftermath of 9/11 with the intention to heal and celebrate New Yorkers’ resiliency through the power of art, the “River To River Festival” is an opportunity for New Yorkers to engage with their local artistic community across disciplines.

A champion of independent artmaking since 1973, and the driving force behind this unique festival for over 20 years, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council has been a proud proponent of the experimentation and exploration that the festival provides to the community. LMCC is marking five decades of championing independent artists and fostering vibrant cultural communities throughout New York City. Manhattan’s Arts Council, LMCC has expanded its work and reach beyond Lower Manhattan over the years and LMCC now serves the entirety of the borough, from Governors Island to Inwood.

50 years on, the organization stands as a pillar of strength, boasting renowned artist service programs and a rich and diverse alumni community. For 50 years, LMCC has sustained the city’s arts landscape, spearheading cultural revitalization efforts in the Financial District after 9/11 and securing essential resources for artist communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Arts Center at Governors Island.

The annual “River To River Festival” presents live art and installation in exceptional public spaces throughout downtown New York. Free and open to the public, the “River To River Festival” celebrates artistic and creative diversity across disciplines, partnering with leading institutions in Lower Manhattan to celebrate the city as a site of human connection and creative exploration.

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