NY PopsUp is an unprecedented and expansive festival featuring hundreds of pop-up performances (many of which are free of charge and all open to the public) that will intersect with the daily lives of New Yorkers, an initiative led by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. 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). 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. The Festival will reach its climax with the 20th Anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival and The Festival at Little Island at Pier 55, bringing the total number of performances to more than 1,000. 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.
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. Instead of there being masses of audience members at a handful of events, this Festival is a mass of events, each for a safe and secure ‘handful’ of audience members.
The council of artistic advisors, who are all collaborating and co-curating NY PopsUp, is comprised of a unique group of New York’s premier artistic visionaries, all hailing from different disciplinary backgrounds and each a leader in their own field. These advisors are charged with inviting other artists to join the NY PopsUp community. The artists they engage will, in turn, engage their own networks, ultimately populating the festival with the broadest, most diverse coalition of performers ever united around a single mission. In short, NY PopsUp is being built by artists asking artists to participate.
The council includes renowned choreographer and MacArthur Fellow, Kyle Abraham; three-time Grammy Award nominated jazz musician, Jon Batiste; choreographer and Hoofer Award-winning tap dancer Ayodele Casel; Grammy Award nominated singer, actor, and international opera star, Anthony Roth Costanzo; the playwright of Slave Play, the most Tony Award nominated play in history, Jeremy O. Harris; Tony Award-winning set designer Mimi Lien; the legendary nine-time Grammy Award-winning musician, Wynton Marsalis; two-time National Book Critics Circle Award-winning poet, essayist, and playwright, Claudia Rankine; Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist, Cécile McLorin Salvant; leading member of the Punch Brothers and four-time Grammy Award winner, Chris Thile; acclaimed “Saturday Night Live” writer, comedian, and actor, Julio Torres; and acclaimed director and musician, Whitney White.
More details about NY PopsUp will be announced soon. Please note that, given the impromptu nature and surprise element of the pop-up format, not all performances will be announced in advance. Please follow @NYPopsUp on Twitter and Instagram for the latest.
Art assets can be found HERE.