Artists, cut off from the stages on which they earn their living, were one of the group’s hardest hit by COVID-19’s economic impact; now, as part of their Art El Fresco program, Con Edison is promising $800,000 to artists across the City, sponsoring public exhibitions, live music, and free Shakespeare performances from Central Park to Harlem.
“This summer, Con Edison is putting energy into the arts,” said James Roe, President of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, which will be playing summer serenades in parks across the five boroughs. “As the city reopens, it is time for our hearts to reopen, as well.”
Among the over forty non-profits Con Edison’s Art El Fresco program will support are the Brooklyn Arts Exchange, the Madison Square Park Conservatory, and Queens Theatre, all of which are committed to outdoor art experiences with access to all. These experiences include Maya Lin’s Ghost Forest, an outdoor exhibition in Madison Square Park, screenings of Questlove’s new film Summer of Soul, and Shakespeare performances in parks across the city, throughout the summer.
“More than three hundred artists – all of whom are eager to get back to live performances – will take the stage over the course of our first-ever outdoor summer season,” said Taryn Sacramore, Executive Director of Queens Theatre. “We couldn’t be more grateful or excited.”
The Art El Fresco’s $800,000 will support artists while ensuring that their performances and exhibitions remain, at the same time, free.
While Con-Ed has always supported New York City’s cultural life, after a year and a half of illness and fear, Vice President Francis A. Resheske said that, “Con-Edison’s long-standing commitment to making the arts accessible to all New Yorkers is more important today than ever.”
Events will be outdoors, COVID-safe, and range in content from art exhibitions to dance performances to live music. The schedule, which begins in June and goes through to September, can be found on their website.
“Audiences welcomed us into their homes throughout the pandemic by participating in our digital programming,” said Ms. Sacramone. “Now we’re ready to welcome them back to ours.”