Lower Manhattan Cultural Council announces its 50th Anniversary season

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council announces its 50th Anniversary season
The Downtown Dinner Sophia Wallace and Anna Parisi. 2023 Photo by Elliot Lopez.

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) proudly announces its momentous 50th Anniversary season, marking five decades of championing independent artists and fostering vibrant cultural communities throughout New York City. Established in 1973 with a vision of artists as beacons of resilience and inspiration, LMCC is Manhattan’s Arts Council; expanding its work and reach beyond Lower Manhattan over the years, LMCC now serves the entirety of the borough, from Governors Island to Inwood.

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council announces its 50th Anniversary season
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council 50 years poster

50 years on, the organization stands as a pillar of strength, boasting renowned artist service programs and a rich and diverse alumni community that includes luminaries such as visual artists Simone Leigh and Sanford Biggers and the groundbreaking experimental music collective, Bang on a Can.

LMCC’s artist residency programs (Workspace, Arts Center Residency) provide vital support and studio space for talents across all career stages. Other groundbreaking initiatives, such as the SU-CASA program, enrich the lives of hundreds of older adults through immersive arts workshops at local senior centers. For 50 years, LMCC has sustained the city’s arts landscape, spearheading cultural revitalization efforts in the Financial District after 9/11 and securing essential resources for artist communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council announces its 50th Anniversary season
The Downtown Dinner 2023
Francis J. Greenburger, Cherrie
Nanninga and Craig T. Peterson. Photo by Elliot Lopez.

To commemorate its milestone anniversary, LMCC presents “Party as Performance,” a captivating four-month series (March-June 2024) of artist-led celebrations. These monthly gatherings, hosted by esteemed LMCC alumni artists, promise unique aesthetics, immersive environments, and opportunities for lively community engagement.

“Since Arnie Zane and I started our Company in 1982, just under 10 years after LMCC was founded, it’s been a fierce community of thinkers and movers. A chosen family, as we would call it today. Over the decades and now at New York Live Arts, our Company and other programs continue to center on innovative movement-based artists notable for their conceptual rigor, formal experimentation and active engagement with the social, political and cultural currents of our times.

It is heartwarming and my pleasure to be honored by such a passionate and dedicated organization as LMCC – a true leader and accomplice in transcending barriers between and within communities. Congratulations on 50 years of creating space and support for artists in our city, and beyond,” said Bill T. Jones

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council announces its 50th Anniversary season
The Downtown Dinner
David Thomson and Natu Camara. 2023
Photo by Elliot Lopez.

Other parties in the monthly-occuring Party as Performance series will be hosted by LMCC alumni artists, each gathering featuring its own signature aesthetic, vibe, and community. Specializing in the art of bringing people together, Party as Performance alumni artist-hosts include YiuYiu 瑶瑶 (aka Rochelle Kwan) of Chinatown Records, Larissa Velez Jackson (of YACKEZ) and Elisabeth Smolarz. Parties will feature YiuYiu’s record collection of treasured Chinese albums from the 1920’s to the present day and a “matinee…laugh out loud…Swaying in the corners party” from YACKEZ.

Rounding out the 50th anniversary festivities, LMCC will present the annual River To River Festival June 10-June 22. Celebrating five decades of LMCC and 23 years of River To River, the 2024 festival will feature performances by LMCC’s Extended Life artists in residence, as well as Workspace Open Studios and other events. Presenting 10 offerings of live dance, storytelling, performance, and installation in public spaces throughout Downtown New York and Governors Island, River To River 2024 Artists include: jaamil olawale kosoko (dance, installation, video), Jesi Cook (dance), Kayla Hamilton (installation), Leslie Cuyjet (video, installation, dance) mayfield brooks (dance, installation), Miguel Gutierrez (dance, interactive), Nattie & Hollis (dance), NIC Kay (dance, performance), and Samita Sinha (dance, sound), and Black Elder Seafarer Storytelling & Boat-Building Workshop (storytelling, public practice, Interactive).

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council announces its 50th Anniversary season
The Downtown Dinner
Savitri Durkee.
Photo by Elliot 2023 Lopez.

In a sweet, memory-laden farewell, the closing artist-led party, PARTY AS PARTICIPATION, will feature a memorable selection of craft ice cream flavors inspired by alumni artist-host Elisabeth Smolarz’s 2012 LMCC residency on Governors Island. The flavors will celebrate the friendships and artist communities Smolarz formed during that time, as well as the distinctive features of the island itself: the weeping willow tree, lavender fields, and Flour, Sam, Evening, Chad, and Philip Aries, the beloved sheep of Governors Island. The tasting event and party will offer a culinary
journey honoring and blending art, nature, and 50 years of building and supporting artist communities.

“It’s thrilling to helm LMCC during this historic 50th anniversary year. For five decades, LMCC has supported artist communities throughout the borough and the entire city with unparalleled, dynamic and adaptive services that provide funding, creative time, professional education and community connection. We keep artists at the heart of all we do because we know that art is a critical and essential force for social well-being and cultural change. As we look to the future and the many issues we face as a society – climate change, global conflict and social inequity – we will continue to position artists to lead us forward in the decades to come,” said Craig T. Peterson,
LMCC President.

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council announces its 50th Anniversary season
The Downtown Dinner 2023
Matthew Sandager, Gabriel Garcia
Roman, Caroline Garcia and Jessica Lagunas. Photo by Elliot Lopez.

PARTY AS PRACTICE: Sat, May 18 | 1pm-3pm
The Arts Center at Governors Island
Coincides with LMCC Governors Island resident artists Open Studios at The Arts Center
Hosted by Larissa Velez Jackson / (of YACKEZ)

  • Is sitting together a party? Is dancing? Is a hot tub? Is a drum circle? Talking? Imbibing while vibing? Can a party transform itself? Can we rest together? Yackez is throwing a party. They’ll coax a party into being. A matinee party. A laugh out loud party. A party with beverages. Swaying in the corners party. Come join them on the island known as Paggank by the Lenape.

THE DOWNTOWN DINNER: Mon, April 15, 2024
The Conrad Downtown
Honoring:

  • Bill T. Jones, Liberty Award for Artistic Leadership
  • Baseera Khan, Michael Richards Award for Visual Art
  • Miguel Gutierrez, Sam Miller Award for Performing Arts
  • 2024 Gala Emcee: Darrell Martin
  • Special Performance by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company

PARTY AS PARTICIPATION: Sat, June 22 | 11am-1pm
The Arts Center at Governors Island
Hosted by Elisabeth Smolarz

Elisabeth Smolarz will craft ice cream flavors inspired by her experiences during her 2012 artist residency on Governors Island. The flavors will celebrate the friendships and artist communities she formed during that time, as well as the distinctive features of the island itself, such as the weeping willow tree, the lavender fields, and the beloved Governors Island sheep: Flour, Sam, Evening, Chad, and Philip Aries. The tasting event will offer a culinary journey blending elements of childhood nostalgia, art, and nature.

©2024 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council

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