American Folk Art Museum

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At a Glance

Time Needed: 60 min.

Ages: All

Allows Food/Drink: No

Luggage Storage: No

The American Folk Art Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in American art, culture, and history. The museum has a vast collection of over 8,000 objects of folk art, ranging from the 18th century to the present day. Visitors can explore the diverse range of folk art, including paintings, sculptures, quilts, furniture, and many other unique objects that offer a glimpse into the country's rich cultural heritage. The museum's exhibitions showcase the work of self-taught artists, highlighting the creativity and imagination of everyday people. The museum also hosts lectures, performances, and workshops, making it an engaging and interactive experience for visitors of all ages. Additionally, the museum is located in a beautiful and historic building, making it a stunning architectural landmark. Overall, the American Folk Art Museum provides an unparalleled opportunity to explore the vibrant and diverse artistic traditions that have shaped American culture over the centuries, making it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in American history and culture.

2 Lincoln Square, New York, NY 10023 Get Directions

American Folk Art Museum Videos

Please click CC button for subtitles. This video from the American Folk Art Museum is designed for art lovers living with a dementia diagnosis to enjoy along with a care partner or family member who can occasionally pause the video to facilitate discussions. This program is funded by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts.

June 27, 2023 Material Witness: Folk and Self-Taught Artists is the first in a series of thematic shows drawn from the Museum’s collection that will run from March 2023 to September 2024. Organized in the Daniel Cowin Gallery, these exhibitions invite viewers to admire the museum’s collection up close while showcasing an expansive history of American art. In this program, Luce Assistant Curator Brooke Wyatt walks us through Material Witness, which explores how artists from the collection learn with and through material engagement. With a focus on the ways raw materials and traditional tools are utilized and transformed into mediators of lived experience, this curatorial presentation will provide an in-depth study of artists’ unique training, working processes, and radical visions. AFAM’s Collections and Exhibitions Associate Lisa Machi will join the discussion to share more about her collaboration with  Brooke Wyatt  and her vision for the exhibition design. This conversation will offer viewers an opportunity to learn how objects from AFAM's collection are prepared, installed, and displayed for exhibition.  Material Witness is generously supported by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. Presented in the Daniel Cowin Gallery – originally established by Trustee Joyce Berger Cowin in memory of her husband, also a Trustee and champion of the Museum, it includes recently acquired works, including selections from the Audrey B. Heckler collection, and gifts from Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz, Peter J. Cohen, and Willett Bracken Evans.

A focused discussion of a collection artist or theme paired with an art-making prompt to encourage creativity and interaction. These programs are designed for those living with memory loss and their caregivers.

June 15, 2023 What that Quilt Knows About Me explores the capacity of quilts to record and pass down community and family histories. Included in the exhibition is Dindga McCannon’s quilt-like piece Mary Lou Williams - Jazz Pianist. In this textile homage to “the greatest woman jazz pianist in the world," the Harlem artist captures her neighborhood’s culturally rich environment while highlighting the vibrancy of Williams’s music and her contribution to the legacy of jazz.  In this program, McCannon will discuss the creative process behind the making of Mary Lou Williams - Jazz Pianist. She will share how she combines found objects, paint, photographs and fibers to create a powerful portrait of a Black woman artist and to tell her story.  Like McCannon, textile artist Aliyah Bonnette learned quilting from women in her family. “By incorporating the very fabrics and unfinished quilts [my late grandmother] touched and sewed herself [in the 1970’s], my practice becomes a space to stitch together the stories and memories of Black women across generations,” she stated.  Join McCannon and Bonnette for a dynamic conversation about the intuitive and improvisational art of quilting, moving across various techniques, materials and temporalities.  Moderated by writer and curator Dessane Lopez Cassell, this conversation explores the unique role of fabric, needle and thread in the production and transmission of African-American experiences and histories. With a focus on Black feminist imagination, this program will examine the historical significance of quiltmaking while revisiting women portraiture.

May 17, 2023 What that Quilt Knows About Me features quilts whose textiles and styles reflect global histories of conflict of the 18th and 19th centuries. One quilt in the exhibition is Kuʻu Hae Aloha (“My Beloved Flag”), a rare 19th-century Hawaiian flag quilt that carries powerful political meaning in opposition to the United States’ military-backed illegal overthrow in 1893. The program “Threads of Knowledge: The Intricacies of Hawaiian Textiles” invites us to examine the ways in which vibrant Hawaiian cloth culture speaks to a complex system of material exchange, ongoing U.S. occupation and long-standing Indigenous-led efforts to resist, reclaim, and revitalize. Native Hawaiian artist and activist Bernice Akamine draws from a long tradition of Hawaiian creative practices to reflect on the islands' current historical and ecological moment. Composed in kapa (a bark cloth made from the wauke plant), her protest piece Hae Hawaii reconsiders the Hawaiian flag quilt at its most basic element to express patriotic pride and the perseverance of the lāhui (“the People”). Art historian Emily Cornish has recently begun a project that considers how royal Hawaiian women used fiber arts to navigate Hawaiian social and political concerns during the nineteenth century. The scholar examines how objects like Queen Liliʻuokalani’s imprisonment quilt (which features the Hawaiian flag) were used as expressions of Hawaiian sovereignty and political protest. Joiri Minaya, a multidisciplinary artist, destabilizes historic and contemporary representations of Indigenous identity by concealing bodies in tropical pattern design and fabric. In her series I can wear tropical print now where she juxtaposes “Aloha” shirts with Hawaiian-style design prints, the artist reveals the colonial violence hidden in the production and consumption of tourist fantasy spaces. In dialogue with artist and curator Drew Kahuʻāina Broderick, Akamine, Cornish and Minaya will explore the Hawaiian flag quilt and tropical aesthetics from a post-colonial perspective. The history of Hawaiian textile design and pattern will serve as a springboard for a broader consideration of tropicalism, and its entanglement with settler colonialism and the appropriation of Indigenous lands and traditions.

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American Folk Art Museum News

Nadya Tolokonnikova, Creator of Pussy Riot, to Headline Benefit Event for the American Folk Art Museum

Join Pussy Riot founder Nadya Tolokonnikova at the American Folk Art Museum benefit show in New York. A unique opportunity to experience art and activism combined.

BaCA Host an Exhibition of the Works of Legendary Artist Purvis Young

Pompano Beach Arts, in conjunction with FATVillage Arts District, will present the acclaimed works of the late Florida artist Purvis Young. The exhibition entitled The Onliest Thing I Could Mostly Do celebrates the life and work of the renowned self-taught artist.

Winchendon Music Festival To Present Seven Concerts in August

Discover the lineup, dates, and venues for the Winchendon Music Festival 2023. From classical to jazz and world music, this festival offers a diverse range of performances by international artists. Don't miss this unforgettable musical experience!

Queens Rising Celebrates Juneteenth Throughout June 2023

A month-long, multi-disciplinary arts celebration created to highlight the borough's culture and creative diversity, Queens Rising brings together the many arts organizations, multi-purpose venues and galleries in Queens to promote and highlight performances, exhibitions, and cultural events, showcasing the borough's artistic and cultural communities.

Queens Rising: A Celebration Of Arts And Culture Officially Launches Second Year

A month-long, multi-disciplinary arts celebration created to highlight the borough's culture and creative diversity, Queens Rising brings together the many arts organizations, multi-purpose venues and galleries in Queens to promote and highlight performances, exhibitions, and cultural events.

QUEENS RISING: A Celebration Of Arts And Culture Returns This June

There will be dancing in Rockaway. Poetry will pop up in Ridgewood. They'll hit the high notes in Flushing. An art invasion is headed for Astoria!

American Folk Art Museum To Present Benefit Concert This Thursday, Hosted By Harvey Fierstein

The American Folk Art Museum has announced that it will host a benefit concert at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 18, 2023 at Adler Hall at The New York Society for Ethical Culture (2 West 64 Street, New York, New York). 

Matt Butler's RECKLESS SON to Play UNDER St. Marks in June

FRIGID New York will present a limited engagement of Matt Butler’s Reckless Son on Thursday, June 1 at 7pm at UNDER St. Marks.

American Folk Art Museum Announces Benefit Concert Featuring Lonnie Holley and Friends

The American Folk Art Museum will host a benefit concert on Thursday, May 18, 2023 at Adler Hall at The New York Society for Ethical Culture (2 West 64 Street, New York, New York).

WE BEAR Prisoner Art Exhibit Makes Its US Debut At Ann Arbor Art Fair

'WE BEAR,' an art exhibit featuring works sourced by the University of Michigan's Prison Creative Arts Project, will make its U.S. debut at the Ann Arbor Art Fair July 21-23.

Lincoln Square BID Launches Month-Long Holiday Celebration With Special Pop-up Performances

Shining lights and pop-up delights are heading to the Lincoln Square neighborhood this holiday season as the Lincoln Square Business Improvement District announced its expanded holiday program to celebrate the neighborhood's resiliency and culture comeback.

Weston Art Gallery Reopens Tomorrow With Three New Exhibitions

The Cincinnati Arts Association's Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery in the Aronoff Center for the Arts is pleased to announce that it will reopen on Saturday, January 30 with three new exhibitions linked by social, political, and historical investigations.

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra And CaringKind Partner To Bring Music To People With Dementia And Their Caregivers

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is pleased to announce an exciting new partnership with CaringKind to bring extraordinary musical experiences to people with Alzheimer's disease and dementia and their caregivers in Brooklyn and the Bronx. The pilot program, called "With Music in Mind," marks the first time CaringKind's connect2culture program - an initiative that helps cultural organizations develop programs for New York's Alzheimer's community - is bringing performing arts programming into the Bronx and Brooklyn. Formerly known as the Alzheimer's Association, New York City Chapter, CaringKind has been New York City's leading expert on Alzheimer's and dementia caregiving for more than 30 years.

NYC-ARTS to Visit Brooklyn Cultural Destinations In January

NYC-ARTS, THIRTEEN's weekly arts and culture multi-platform showcase, brings arts lovers an all-access pass to the interesting, unusual and unique cultural offerings of the greater New York City region. New York's five boroughs and the surrounding region offer some of the most renowned cultural institutions in the world. This month the series will spotlight several of those destinations located in Brooklyn.

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American Folk Art Museum Frequently Asked Questions

What are the closest subway stops to American Folk Art Museum

The closest subway stops to the American Folk Art Museum at 2 Lincoln Square in New York City are:

1. 66th Street – Lincoln Center Station: This station is served by the 1 train and is located just a short walk from the museum. Exit the station and head west on West 66th Street towards Broadway. The museum will be on your left.

2. 72nd Street Station: This station is served by the 1, 2, and 3 trains. From the station, you can walk south on Broadway until you reach West 66th Street. Turn right and the museum will be on your left.

I would recommend checking the MTA website for any subway updates or changes in service before your visit. You can find the most up-to-date information on their website:

While you're in the area, you might also want to explore the vibrant Lincoln Square neighborhood. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is just a stone's throw away, and it's home to some of the world's most renowned performing arts organizations. If you're interested in catching a show, be sure to check out their schedule and see if anything catches your eye.

Additionally, Central Park is within walking distance, so you could take a leisurely stroll through the park before or after your visit to the museum. It's a beautiful oasis in the heart of the city and offers a variety of activities and attractions.

Enjoy your visit to the American Folk Art Museum and have a wonderful time exploring the surrounding area!

What's the best way to get to American Folk Art Museum by bus?

The closest bus stops to the American Folk Art Museum at 2 Lincoln Square in New York City are:

1. Broadway/W 65 St - served by the M5, M7, M11, and M104 buses. You can check for updates on these bus routes on the MTA Bus Time website.

2. Columbus Circle - served by various bus routes including the M5, M7, M10, M20, M31, M57, and M104. For real-time bus updates, you can visit the MTA Bus Time website.

Please note that bus routes and schedules are subject to change, so it's always a good idea to check for updates before your visit. Safe travels and enjoy your time at the American Folk Art Museum!

How much time should I plan to spend at American Folk Art Museum?

The ideal length of time to plan for a visit to the American Folk Art Museum in New York City can vary depending on your level of interest in folk art and your schedule. However, I would recommend setting aside at least 1 to 2 hours to fully explore the museum and appreciate its unique collection.

The American Folk Art Museum showcases a diverse range of self-taught art, including paintings, sculptures, textiles, and decorative objects. With its thought-provoking exhibitions, it's worth taking the time to immerse yourself in the stories and creativity behind these works.

During your visit, you can also take advantage of the museum's educational programs, guided tours, or special events, which may require additional time. Additionally, don't forget to browse the museum shop, where you can find one-of-a-kind folk art-inspired items to take home as souvenirs.

Remember, this is just a general recommendation, and if you have a particular interest in folk art or want to explore the museum at a leisurely pace, you may want to allocate more time. Ultimately, the choice is yours, and I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time exploring the American Folk Art Museum!

Can I bring food and drinks into American Folk Art Museum?

The American Folk Art Museum in New York City does not have a designated food or drink policy. However, it is always best to be respectful of the artwork and the museum environment. While you may not be able to bring food or drinks into the galleries, there are usually designated areas such as cafes or outdoor spaces where you can enjoy refreshments. Additionally, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes in the surrounding area where you can grab a bite to eat before or after your visit.

Does American Folk Art Museum offer luggage storage?

The American Folk Art Museum in New York City does not have a luggage storage facility on-site. However, there are several options available nearby where you can securely store your belongings while you visit the museum.

One option is to use a luggage storage service such as Vertoe or LuggageHero. These services provide convenient and secure storage locations throughout the city, including near the American Folk Art Museum. You can easily find and book a storage spot through their websites or mobile apps.

Another option is to check if your hotel offers luggage storage for its guests. Many hotels provide this service even if you are not currently staying with them. It's worth contacting your hotel in advance to inquire about their policy.

Lastly, if you are traveling with a larger suitcase or bag, you may want to consider using a luggage storage service at one of the major transportation hubs in the city, such as Penn Station or Grand Central Terminal. These facilities are typically equipped to handle larger items and offer secure storage options.

Remember to plan ahead and check the operating hours and fees of any luggage storage service you choose, as they may vary. This will ensure a smooth and hassle-free visit to the American Folk Art Museum.

Is American Folk Art Museum a good place to visit for foreign travelers who are not native English speakers?

Yes, the American Folk Art Museum in New York City is definitely worth a visit for visitors from other countries, as well as non-English language speakers. While English is the primary language used in the museum, the exhibits primarily focus on visual art, which can be appreciated and understood by people of all languages.

The museum showcases a diverse collection of traditional and contemporary folk art, including paintings, sculptures, textiles, and more. The artwork often tells stories and reflects cultural traditions, making it accessible and engaging for visitors of all backgrounds.

Additionally, the museum provides informative labels and descriptions alongside the artwork, which can be helpful for non-English speakers. Furthermore, the museum offers audio guides in multiple languages, allowing visitors to learn more about the exhibits in their preferred language.

Overall, the American Folk Art Museum offers a unique and enriching experience for all visitors, regardless of their language proficiency. It is a wonderful opportunity to explore the rich cultural heritage of folk art and gain a deeper understanding of American history and traditions.

What ages are appropriate for American Folk Art Museum?

The American Folk Art Museum in New York City is a wonderful destination for visitors of all ages. While there is no specific age range recommended, the museum's exhibits and collections are generally suitable for older children, teenagers, and adults. Younger children may also enjoy the colorful and imaginative artwork on display, but may not fully appreciate the historical and cultural significance of the pieces. Ultimately, it depends on the interests and attention span of your child. The museum offers a variety of programs and activities throughout the year that may cater to different age groups, so be sure to check their website for any upcoming events that might be of interest to your family.