The second annual Harlem Arts Festival comes to Marcus Garvey Park this weekend to feature more than 30 of Harlem’s best artists, musicians and dancers. This free, family-friendly event will celebrate and promote the importance of arts education, while presenting artists across different genres that will help mark the Richard Rogers Amphitheater and the surrounding park as a venue for culture.
According to Neal Ludevig, executive director and co-founder of the Harlem Arts Festival, this year’s festival will be even better than before. Last year, the festival featured artists with scattered performances on two different stages. This year, there will still be two stages, but the programming will be more consolidated, with many performances happening at the same time.
“There will be more to see and more music,” said Ludevig.
And there will be more to do. This year’s activities will range from family yoga classes to dance classes to keep kids and adults alike active. Coordinators of the festival also partnered with a videographer to produce profiles of five of the featured artists so attendees can get a personal introduction to each artist as well as see a glimpse of their work. One of the these artists, Lädy Millard, a painter and acclaimed “street anthropologist,” will bring several pieces of her work, which has been displayed in various galleries around the country. Her work gives rise to a new definition of femininity while also re-defining what it means to be an African-American artist.
“Women are treated as second to men, and I want the meaning of ‘women’ to change to lady,” Millard said. “‘Lady’ brings forth the idea that you are no longer a part of or coming from a man. You are present from your own being.”
By being featured in the Harlem Arts Festival, Millard said, she is helping to create “placement, need and desire” for other artists of color in the art world.
Millard and several other artists, including painter Isaac Williams and live art performer Coquíchulo Images, will be showcasing their work along “Gallery Walk” near the amphitheater. Festival-goers will have the opportunity to have direct talk-backs with the artists to learn more about their work.
Rain or shine, the Harlem Arts Festival will take place at Marcus Garvey Park at the Richard Rogers Amphitheater from 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30