‘Arts and Culture Matter to New Yorkers’ — West Side Fest Returns to NYC

The second-annual West Side Fest offers free admission, activities and performances to draw locals and tourists to the City’s ‘newest cultural destination.’

| 11 Jul 2024 | 10:00

West Side Fest, the neighborhood’s premier festival celebration, is back for a second year from July 12-14 on New York’s historic waterfront. Stretching about a half-mile worth of city blocks, the Fest is packed with workshops, activities, art projects and performances.

Organized by the West Side Cultural Network, a group of over 20 museums, parks, arts centers and cultural institutions local to the West Side, the weekend attracts visitors to the often unnoticed artistic side of Manhattan.

For Jane Carey, the director of government and community affairs at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Fest is about “solidifying New York City as a global arts destination.”

“West Side Fest celebrates the vibrancy of the dynamic cultural neighborhood that our organizations call home,” she said in a recent press release. “At the Whitney, we are proud to be a part of this growing community with a rich history of arts and culture.”

Last year’s inaugural event drew 50,000 festival goers to the West Side in just one day, Carey said, “affirming that arts and culture matter to New Yorkers and travelers alike.”

Other participating organizations, including the Rubin Museum of Art, Poster House and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center are hosting free programming throughout the weekend to connect New Yorkers to the neighborhood’s cultural legacy.

“The rapid growth of West Side Fest speaks to the appetite for arts and cultural programming in the area,” said Salvador Muñoz, Poster House’s director of public programs. “We incorporated many lessons learned from last year to make the program bigger and better.”

NYC Cultural Arts Commissioner Laurie Cumbo said this kind of activity joins New Yorkers together and “gives our city an energy like nowhere else in the world,” crediting the Fest’s organizers with creating cultural milestones for the City’s calendar.

Gabriella Malavé, programs manager of administration and special projects at the High Line, outlined a list of activities in the press release, including dance parties, artmaking, markets and panel discussions.

“We should be excited for the robust amount of programming, and for the effort and intention that everyone took to make this happen,” Malavé said.

Hannah Gompertz, the director of communications and marketing at Dia Art Foundation, called the event a “real celebration of arts and culture on the West Side.”

“West Side Fest offers an opportunity for New Yorkers and tourists alike to explore this network of incredible cultural organizations and engage on multiple levels,” she said. “We hope this will continue to be a mainstay in New York’s cultural calendar for years to come.”

“We incorporated many lessons learned from last year to make the program bigger and better.” Salvador Muñoz, Poster House