The Harlem Arts Festival Celebrates 5th Anniversary This Summer

Celebrating its fifth year anniversary, the Harlem Arts Festival will return to Marcus Garvey Park June 25-26th, 2016 as the official summer kick-off event for Harlem residents and New Yorkers of all ages who love the arts.

Building on its success from the last four years, the multidisciplinary art festival will provide a stage for 43 talented musicians, dancers, singers, theatrical and visual artists as well as vendor space for more than 30 retailers and local small businesses.

The heart of the festival will remain on Marcus Garvey Park's main stage in the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater, with additional performances at the Second Stage near the northwest entrance of the park. Artwork from HAF 2016 visual artists will be displayed along the HAF Gallery Walk.

"As the Harlem Arts Festival has grown, we've been able to strengthen our relationships with local artists and the communities they serve by providing a stage for them in their own backyard to share their artistic gifts," said Neal Ludevig, Executive Director and co-founder of the Harlem Arts Festival. "We're thrilled to provide the platform and support system that these fantastic artists need to succeed. We've seen former HAF artists like India Carney go on to be a finalist on NBC's The Voice, dancer Michela Marino Lerman and harpist Brandee Younger featured in the New York Times, spoken word poets like Najee Omar go on to be featured on All Def Poetry, visual artists like Alice Mizrachi have her work shown on the hit show "Master of None" and featured on The Huffington Post...the list is endless!"

"Partnerships have always been integral to our growth and success over the years," said Chelsea Goding, festival co-founder and Marketing Director. "This year our collaborations with our partners like Zipcar, Make Music New York, and local artists are more exciting than ever, and add a lot of vibrancy to our lineup."

To mark its fifth anniversary season, Harlem Arts Festival has programmed a full weekend of events, as well as a free preview on June 21st in collaboration with Make Music New York.

The festival is free and open to the public, with the exception of the Opening Night Party and the Festival Brunch for which tickets are available online. Tickets to all festival events can be reserved or purchased at

What's New at the Harlem Arts Festival:


- This year's opening night party will be held at The National Black Theatre, located at 2031 5th Ave at 125th Street, and feature performances by the 2016 HAF artists Freelance and Samira Gibson. Tickets are $20 online and $25 at the door and will be available through Harlem Arts Festival's website.

- An after-party hosted by the HAF Junior Board will take place at Gin Fizz, located at 308 Malcolm X Blvd, on Saturday, June 25th, beginning at 10:30pm.

- HAF will host its first brunch in partnership with The Bachelor Chef, Ryan Eli Salter, Sunday, June 26th from 12-3pm at the Urban Garden Center located under the train tracks at 1640 Park Avenue and 116th Street.

Artist Highlights

- Harlem Arts Festival and renowned Harlem-based light designer Bentley Meeker are collaborating to produce a major public art piece. Meeker's major public pieces and lighting projects include the "H" underneath the 125th and 12th Street viaduct, "Flame to Now IV" at the Whitney Museum, the "Temple of Whollyness" at Burning Man, and many others. In partnership with HAF and 5th On the Park, a 28-story condominium, Meeker will install hive lights atop the building and light Marcus Garvey Park over the festival weekend.

- Timothy Bloom, a two time Grammy award winner who has written songs for artists such as Smokey Robinson, Ne-Yo and Chris Brown, will headline the Saturday night festival lineup, while Soulsteps, led by artistic director and choreographer Maxine Lyle, and one of the dance groups featured for Step in the viral video "The A to Z of Dance" will close the festival on Sunday.

- The Movement Theatre Company, Harlem's premiere theatre group, will host 3 private comedy sets throughout the weekend at Harlem Village Academies (HVA). The series is part of a larger partnership with HVA and will include theatre, spoken word and poetry performances on-site. A spoken word Cypher will open the space on Saturday, June 25th at 5:45pm, hosted by La Caridad la Cruz.

Collaborations and Sponsors

- Zipcar has partnered with Harlem Arts Festival for the 2nd year in a row to commission the live painting of a car, known locally as the #HarlemArtCar, by a HAF artist. This year, the artist will be chosen by HAF fans via a social media contest on Twitter and Instagram.

- The work will provide insight into the artistic process and celebrate the arts, while highlighting Zipcar's local car-sharing program which promotes energy conservation. This is part of a larger initiative to showcase each borough by painting a vehicle, with Harlem being the first neighborhood to do so. After the festival, the #HarlemArtCar will be available for Zipcar members to drive throughout the summer, with a portion of each rental donated to a local non-profit.

- As a special free preview on Tuesday, June 21, Make Music New York and Harlem Arts Festival will join forces to present Uptown Funk, a series of funk, jazz, & soul inspired concerts at venues throughout Harlem. Neighborhood clubs, restaurants, and outdoor spaces will play host while we both celebrate Harlem's musical heritage and its makers, and feature younger Harlem-based artists who are carrying on the torch. There will be music to enjoy all day, and it will all be free to the public, as always. The series will be a walking path down Frederick Douglass Boulevard and across 116th street. The lineup includes:

- Shareef Keyes & The Groove at Angel Harlem (2272 Frederick Douglass Blvd and 122nd Street)

- JS Williams at The Cecil (210 W 118th St and Frederick Douglass Blvd)

- Noël Simoné Band of Friends NYC at Lolo's Seafood Shack (303 W 116th St and Frederick Douglass Blvd)

- Timothy Bloom at Silvana (300 W 116th St and Frederick Douglass Blvd)

- Anu~Sun at MIST (46 W 116th St, between 5th and Lenox Ave)

- Festival sponsors and support for this year include: Angel of Harlem, Artimus/Go No-fee, Columbia Community Service Foundation, conEdison, Elliott Ashby, Freshdirect, Green Mountain Energy, Harlem Community Development Corporation, Harlem Properties, jetBlue, Kapture Kinetics, National Black Theatre, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NYC Parks Department, The Harlem Brewing Company, Urban Garden Center, Whole Foods, WNYC Radio, and Zipcar.

- The festival also received a grant from Goldman Sachs' Community Teamworks, a global volunteer initiative that allows GS employees to take a day off to volunteer with local nonprofits.

Visit for the full festival schedule, performance lineup and list of visual artists. Follow @HarlemArtsFest on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. You can also track the #HAF2016 hashtag for live updates leading up to and during the festival weekend.

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