Lower East Side arts festival goes digital for 25th year celebration

Performers and musicians who are among the scores participating in the Lower East Side Festival of the Arts, (L-R): Lissa Moira, Barbara Kahn, Crystal Field, Michael Vazquez, Penny Arcade, Richard West, David Amram. (Photo by Jonathan Slaff)


The Lower East Side Festival of the Arts will celebrate its 25th year virtually with theater performances honoring first responders and essential workers May 22-24.

This year’s festival, “Renaissance: Arts Alive 25,” will feature live and recorded performances from Lower East Side artists including theater, dance, poetry, puppetry and more broadcast on the Theater for the New City’s website. A complete lineup and hour-by-hour schedule for the three-day festival will be available online by May 18.

The various ethnic communities of the Lower East Side are represented in the performances, including Latin Americans, African Americans, Chinese, Jewish, Irish, Italian, Native American and many others.

At 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 23, there will be a series of live performances by David Amram, Charles Busch, F. Murray Abraham, Penny Arcade, Phoebe Legere, Austin Pendleton, William Electric Black and Reno.

After the live shows, a group of Lower East Side artists will have a virtual chat about COVID-19, theater, politics and the human spirit.

There will also be testimonials from local elected officials and activists.

The festival started in 1996 as a three-day indoor and outdoor visual arts event celebrating the diversity of the Lower East Side.