First-ever West Side Fest to bring free admission to museums, parks and cultural institutions

230529_18-35-03_R5_12613-Edit – Max Touhey
The first-ever West Side Fest is bringing free admission to more than a dozen museums, parks, and arts and cultural institutions in the west side of Manhattan on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023.
Max Touhey

The first-ever West Side Fest is bringing free admission to museums, parks, performing arts centers, and cultural institutions in the west side of Manhattan for one day on Saturday, Sept. 30.

The West Side Cultural Network, comprised of a group of more than 20 institutions located in the Chelsea and Meatpacking neighborhoods, is presenting the all-day inaugural festival for all ages to invite New Yorkers to enjoy their cultural village and destination along the waterfront. 

The institutions that are participating in West Side Fest and opening its doors include the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Rubin Museum of Art, Little Island, the High Line, The Shed, Poster House, Westbeth Artists Housing, West Village Rehearsal Co-Op, the New York City AIDS Memorial Park, and the Center for Art, Research and Alliances.

There will be free admission to museums, neighborhood tours, open exhibitions, art making activities, live music, open rehearsal, a film festival, poetry reading, a puppet show, a marine science festival, and an evening block party. 

Tamara McCaw, chief civic program officer at The Shed, stated West Side Fest was a culmination of four years of “deep, organic collaboration” between the West Side Cultural Network.

“Our cross-institution community building groundwork has seeded a strong foundation to reimagine new, more equitable, joyful, and nourishing ways of engagement, serving our local neighbors, and all New Yorkers,” McCaw said. “With West Side Fest, the Network’s first public event, we are thrilled to open ourselves and our doors to New York.”

The West Side neighborhood includes both newer and long-standing organizations that are on the west side of Manhattan, including the new Gansevoort Peninsula in Hudson River Park, which is set to open to the public in October. 

The Chelsea Market, Collins, Dinamo, Meatpacking Business Improvement District, Pier 57, and Wix Playground are the founding sponsors of West Side Fest.

Jane Carey, director of government and community affairs at the Whitney Museum of American Art, stated that West Side Fest is a celebration of the dynamic cultural hub that is Manhattan’s West Side.

“We are thrilled to celebrate this community and offer New Yorkers a full day of free creative activities and beautiful views during the first-ever West Side Fest,” said Carey, who held plan West Side Fest. “Cultural communities like the West Side solidify New York as a global arts destination.”

Here are several West Side Fest offerings:

  • The Whitney Museum of American Art, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.: Free admission, neighborhood tours, and art making for kids. Several exhibitions are on view, including a permanent collection show with works by Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jay DeFeo, Alexander Calder, Lee Krasner, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, and more.
  • The Rubin Museum of Art: A free exhibition of paintings, archival materials, audiovisual elements, and ephemera by multidisciplinary artist Matthew Lutz-Kinoy.

  • Poster House: Free admission and tours of newly-opened exhibitions for the fall season, “Art Deco: Commercializing the Avant-Garde” and “We Tried to Warn You! Environmental Crisis Posters, 1970–2020” plus live performances and printing activities for all ages at Hudson River Park’s Pier 63.

  • The Shed: An evening block party featuring dance sets by The Dragon Sisters.

  • The High Line: A poetry reading inspired by Pamela Rosenkranz’s Plinth commission Old Tree, featuring New York-based poets.

  • Hudson River Park : The SUBMERGE Marine Science Festival, at Pier 84, with wildlife art projects, family-friendly live entertainment, and more. Free and open to all. 

  • Westbeth Artists Housing: A puppet show, open studios, and live music.

  • Little Island: Art-marking activities for all ages.

  • West Village Rehearsal Co-Op: Open rehearsal with Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.

  • The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center: Free film festival in partnership with Queer Voices NYC.

  • The New York City AIDS Memorial Park: A presentation of Arthur Russell’s 1973 composition “City Park.”

You can learn more about West Side Fest by visiting the website: https://www.westsidefest.nyc
The Whitney Museum is one of the museums offering free admission during the first-ever West Side Fest on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023.Filip Wolak