Reprinted from The Manhattan Times.
The Uptown Arts Stroll launched its eighth annual edition on Thu., June 3 with a celebration of local artists and arts institutions at the Hispanic Society of America on Broadway and W. 155th Street.
The evening included a dance performance by Edgar Cortes, tango music by Horacio Blanc and Raul Jaurena, and jazz performed by Hector Martignon & Foreign Affair Quartet, awards given to local arts leaders and, of course, the opportunity to schmooze with Northern Manhattan’s artistic and cultural leaders.
But, judging from the number of times the words “hidden gem” were heard from the several hundred attendees throughout the evening, the highlight for many was visiting the venerable Hispanic Society for the first time.
The museum, which houses a world-class collection of Spanish art, including masterpieces by Velazquez, El Greco and Goya, has been housed at the Audubon Terrace since 1908. But the twin draws of the Stroll’s opening kick-off and the recent return of the museum’s signature exhibit “Visión de España” (Vision of Spain) by Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida, recently reinstalled after touring Spain for several years, drew many first-time visitors.
The Stroll was co-founded eight years ago by local arts and community organizations (including the Manhattan Times) to showcase local artists and drive foot traffic to local businesses. It has grown to a month-long affair with examples of the neighborhood’s best visual, performing and literary arts (highlights of which can be found on the following pages; a complete calendar is at www.artstroll.com).
Sandra Garcia-Betancourt, executive director of the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, which took over production of the Stroll when NoMAA was founded in 2007, noted after the kick-off how many people there told her how they have helped make the Stroll a success over the years.
“Most people telling the story assert proudly that they were there from the very beginning,” she said in an email. “It is remarkable that so many in the community have made the Stroll their own. It’s a testament of true leadership by the Washington Heights and Inwood artists.”