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Public Events in Each Borough Will Take Place to Mark the One-Year Anniversary of NYC's Cultural Shutdown

The events are united by the dual themes of #CultureRemembers and #CultureForward, and will take place on Thursday, March 18, and Friday, March 19.

Public Events in Each Borough Will Take Place to Mark the One-Year Anniversary of NYC's Cultural Shutdown

One year after New York City's arts and cultural sector suddenly shut down over the period of one week in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, events in each borough will mark the somber anniversary. Comprised of speeches by local elected/cultural leaders and performances by New York artists, this day of programming memorializes the shut down while looking forward to the needs of a resilient NY artistic community. The events are united by the dual themes of #CultureRemembers and #CultureForward, and will take place on Thursday, March 18, and Friday, March 19. Local leaders and artists will participate in all of them.

The multiple programs are co-produced and co-presented through mutual efforts among ID Studio Theater with BronxArtsSpace and BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance; El Museo del Barrio; LaGuardia Performing Arts Center at LaGuardia Community College; LEIMAY; and The St. George Theatre. Many of these outdoors events utilize permits from the City's new Open Culture initiative that provides access to designated streets across the city for cultural activities.

The events are being presented while artists and cultural organizations continue to navigate the immense challenges of strict limits on in-person gatherings and severely reduced incomes. To make this commemoration possible, host organizations in each borough are working together with media, production, and community partners listed below. The media liaison is New Yorkers for Culture and Arts with cultural leaders throughout New York City who are participants in Culture@3 calls. The production partner is OpenCultureWORKS, a new organization formed to provide production support for cultural groups performing outdoors.


Thursday, March 18


St George Theatre (35 Hyatt Street, Staten Island, NY 10301)

Contact: Doreen Cugno, 718-490-1111,

The St. George Theatre Restoration (SGT) will commemorate the somber anniversary of NYC's Cultural Shutdown with a celebration of live music featuring a special performance by Bobby Wilson, internationally renowned entertainer and son of the legendary Jackie Wilson, in the theatre's newly renovated outdoor front vestibule. The program will include remarks from Staten Island elected officials, theater co-founders Doreen Cugno and Luanne Sorrentino, and the "National Anthem" sung by local high school performer Tatiana Mroczek.

Doreen Cugno, SGT President & CEO, said, "The St. George Theatre has been a fully shuttered venue for over a year. Today is an act of remembrance and healing representing hope and resilience to the arts community. We are one of hundreds of cultural organizations and thousands of artists throughout our city and state that are in dire need of financial support to survive this unprecedented existential crisis. We look forward to the day when we can meet with our friends and neighbors in-person again and reclaim our place on Staten Island as a cultural hub and community anchor."

Friday March 19


LaGuardia Performing Arts Center at LaGuardia Community College (31-10 Thomson Ave, Long Island City, Queens, NY 11101)

Contact: Steven Hitt 347.537.9269


Timeframe: 9:00 a.m.

An event commemorating the anniversary of venues being shuttered, and a reminder that the culture never left. Speakers include Steven Hitt, Artistic Producing Director of LaGuardia Performing Arts Center; Kenneth Adams, President of LaGuardia Community College; and City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer.

Drummers and dancers celebrate the survival of culture all across the City. LaGuardia Performing Arts Center is dedicated to supporting the work of emerging artists across the City of New York, with a particular focus on social justice. We come together for this event to acknowledge the difficult year our City has experienced and to celebrate the resilience of storytellers across the performing arts with an eye towards the future. We are so thankful for our own City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer for writing and putting through the legislation for Open Culture to help provide space on the streets to perform while our venues are closed.


East 140th Street between 3rd Avenue and Alexander Avenue, Bronx NY

Contact: Sandie Luna, 646-641-7353,

ID Studio Theater, in partnership with BronxArtSpace and BAAD!, will gather local arts organizations, individual artists, community leaders, elected officials and neighbors for an event of remembrance, solidarity, advocacy and hope. The event will open with spiritual drumming, followed by spoken word, hip hop and poetry by Bronx-based artists, including poet Tamara Williams. The program will include remarks from elected officials, community stakeholders and local cultural leaders, including Sandie Luna & German Jaramillo from ID Studio Theater, Sabine Schumacher and Beverly Emers from BAS and Arthur Aviles and Charles Rice-González from BAAD! The event will culminate in a celebratory tone of hope with a performance from ID Studio Theater's Community Building Theater Workshop, bringing together community members who have been doing virtual theatrical training throughout the pandemic with professional artists from the company for dance, costumes and Latin rhythms.

Sandie Luna, Executive Director of ID Studio Theater, said, "Our community, like many BIPOC communities, has been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic. A year after our sector's shutdown we are still here, a testament to the power of culture to help us process, heal and unite. Throughout this pandemic, ID Studio has continued working virtually with immigrant communities, and we know firsthand that the arts are an integral tool to a path forward. We gather to honor those who transitioned, to celebrate our resilience and to remind our leaders of the needs of our communities and our sector."


El Museo del Barrio (104th Street between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue, Manhattan)

Contact: Ana Chireno, 347-866-1094,

El Museo del Barrio, the nation's leading Latino and Latin American visual arts museum, will commemorate the one-year anniversary of New York City's shutdown with an uplifting performance by all-woman drumming group Fogo Azul and poetry from home-grown East Harlem bard Jesus Papoleto Melendez. Both performers are favorites amongst El Museo audiences-Fogo Azul as the opening act for the Museum Mile festival and Papoleto as El Museo's longstanding King Emeritus during its Three Kings Day Parade, events that occurred virtually this past year. Their performances will be a tribute to the resiliency of our city and power of the arts to connect individuals and inspire El Museo's communities. Participants will be invited to visit El Museo's galleries to view ESTAMOS BIEN: La Trienal 20/2, the museum's first-ever national survey of Latinx contemporary art featuring over 40 Latinx artists. Speakers will include East Harlem and uptown cultural leaders, Assemblyman Rodriguez and other elected officials TBD.

1:30pm - 2:30pm

North 6th Street Between Bedford Avenue and Berry Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Contact: Krystel Copper, 908-770-3844,

LEIMAY, the artist-run entanglement based in Williamsburg since 1996, will gather local artists, arts advocates, community members, and elected officials in an outdoor event commemorating one year of the shutdown of the art and cultural sector to share expressions of loss, resilience, and determination. Arts leaders will advocate for funding and uplift each other while we connect and inspire our communities.

The afternoon will include remarks by local arts leaders and elected officials, including Senator Julia Salazar, Councilmember Stephen Levin, Dorothy Ryan of Theatre for a New Audience, members of the Bushwick Starr, and other local cultural leaders and advocates. The event will feature the following works:

  • Bodies on the Brink, a performance installation of kinetic sculptures by LEIMAY Artistic Directors Shige Moriya and Ximena Garnica with the LEIMAY Ensemble: Masanori Asahara and Krystel Copper, with music by composer Jeremy D. Slater
  • A lively socially distanced LEIMAY Latin Moves dance class led by local drag artist FreeDa Banana and djembe percussionist Adama Diarra
  • Durational performative actions by LEIMAY guest artists Sophie Holmes, Brandon Perdomo, and Irena Romendik
  • An atmospheric sound installation by Jonah Udall and Andrew Yoon.

Ximena Garnica, multidisciplinary artist and Artistic Co-Director of LEIMAY, said, "As artists, we often find ourselves at multiple kinds of crossroads. For LEIMAY this event is an act of vulnerability, resistance and joy: we dance on stolen land, we listen to the beat of the drum of our immigrant ancestors, we stand in the tension of gentrification while we bow to the lost souls of this pandemic, we resist through careful gathering, we turn to legal busking as our Government turns their back to the arts, we open spaces to connect, to be inspired, and we empower ourselves because we refuse to live a life without poetry."

More Information about the Initiative

For the hundreds of arts and cultural organizations and thousands of artists and cultural workers, the past 12 months have been marked by the deaths of colleagues and the challenges due to compounded losses of live audiences and students, revenue, and staff cuts. These businesses and individuals have been tapping their creativity and resourcefulness under extraordinary conditions to find ways to survive and to serve their audiences, remotely or through limited in-person experiences.

Recovery is fragile and the critical economic condition of the city's artists, culture workers, and arts and culture groups will require more immediate relief and support. A just-released study by the New York State Comptroller delineates the severe economic impact on the arts, entertainment and recreation sector and New York City's economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As of December 2020, arts, entertainment and recreation employment declined by 66 percent from one year earlier, the largest decline among the City's economic sectors. The study highlights that the challenges facing the arts and entertainment sector require direct and impactful support from policy makers to maintain the City's extensive cultural offerings, while ensuring that public health remains a foremost priority until the pandemic has subsided.


For those unable to attend in person, we want your voice to be heard. Please leave a message in the comments of the event Facebook page:

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