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About

NY PopsUp is an expansive festival consisting of hundreds of pop-up performances that will regularly permeate the daily lives of New Yorkers. It is intended to revitalize the spirit and emotional well-being of New York citizens through the energy of live performance. The programming for NY PopsUp will be led 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 scenes and artistic communities. NY PopsUp will launch on Saturday, February 20 and run through Labor Day – with the 20th Anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival and the Festival at Little Island at Pier 55 serving as its apexes.

FAQ

What is NY PopsUp?

NY PopsUp — an unprecedented and expansive festival featuring hundreds of pop-up performances, many of which are free of charge and all open to the public — will intersect with the daily lives of New Yorkers. 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 and Empire State Development.

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 council of artistic advisors who represent the diversity of New York’s dynamic performing arts scene. 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 COVID-19 protocols.

How can I attend/buy tickets? Where is the schedule of events?

Most events associated with NY PopsUp will be unannounced (and unticketed) and will be designed so that New Yorkers happen upon them in their everyday lives. (Since we can’t have large gatherings right now, we want to bring a lot of small things to the public where they are) NY PopsUp is a surprise that you happen upon, rather than an event or concert you are alerted to via a notification or a schedule.

At this point, the best way to keep up with what we’re doing is social media (@nypopsup on Instagram and Twitter).

When will NY PopsUp happen?

NY PopsUp will launch on February 20 with a performance at the Javits Center as a special tribute to New York’s Healthcare workers.

During the run of the festival, NY PopsUp will grow in its scale, volume of performances, and geographical footprint, with events throughout New York State, from the Bronx to Staten Island, from Buffalo to Suffolk County, from the Hudson Valley to the Capitol.

NY PopsUp will reach its apex over the summer, as we celebrate both the 20th Anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival (June 9 through 20) and the opening of one of New York’s most highly anticipated projects: Little Island (June).

Where will NY PopsUp happen?

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 Long Island and Upstate New York, and in all regions of the state. 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, 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.

How do I apply / is there an application process for artists?

NY PopsUp is all about rejuvenating and revitalizing the public through surprise, pop-up performances with incredible artists. NY PopsUp won’t involve auditions or applications, but will instead be programmed through artists connecting with and reaching out to other artists, forming a wide coalition of NY-based artists “popping up” in creative new ways that reflect the full breadth of New York. Programming is spearheaded by interdisciplinary artist Zack Winokur in conjunction with a council of artists from across the performance spectrum.

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; award-winning director and choreographer, Raja Feather Kelly; 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.

Are artists paid?

Absolutely. All artists participating in NY PopsUp will be paid per performance day.

NY PopsUp is a festival programmed by artists, with artists, for the public.

For inquiries, please email [email protected]. We will respond to as many emails as we are able, but — due to the large volume of emails received — we may not be able to respond to everyone. If you are looking for other opportunities to engage with other state-based initiatives for the arts, please visit Arts.NY.Gov.