Arts Stroll kicks off

Story and photos by Robin Elisabeth Kilmer. Reprinted with permission from The Manhattan Times.

Arts Stroll honoree Janifer Wilson, of Sisters Uptown Bookstore, with Sandra García-Betancourt, Executive Director of the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA).

Arts Stroll honoree Janifer Wilson, of Sisters Uptown Bookstore, with Sandra García-Betancourt, Executive Director of the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA).

’Tis the season of Shakespeare and salsa.

The 11th Annual Uptown Arts Stroll kicked off this past Thurs., May 29th at Highbridge Park.

Attendees enjoyed a Pop Up Art Exhibition of local art fixed on the wrought iron fence around the pool, live musical performances from Zeo Muñoz, Obrien Luna and members of the WHIN Music Project, as well as fare provided by several area restaurants, including Indian Road Café, Coogan’s and Saggio.

In addition, members of the Organic Magnetics performed the original play I am New York, based on the life of New York City’s first immigrant, Juan Rodríguez, who hailed from Hispaniola.

The occasion provided a sense of déjà vu for some, as a few art enthusiasts remembered a launch at the very same spot some years ago.

Demetrius Daniel and Obed Fulcar, both teachers at nearby MS 319, were there for that kick-off. They sifted through their memories to see how the past compared to the present.

“It was facing the opposite direction,” observed Fulcar of the impromptu stage just in front of the tower.

“This is bigger,” concluded Daniel.

The Arts Stroll launch was held at Highbridge Park.

The Arts Stroll launch was held at Highbridge Park.

The enthusiasm for the community’s largest annual arts event has also grown. While the original Stroll lasted about a week, the celebration has grown to hundreds of events that fill every day of June.

On Thursday Sandra García-Betancourt, Executive Director of the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA), was awarded a proclamation from Mayor Bill de Blasio by Roberto Pérez, Deputy Commissioner of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, for the organization’s arts advocacy efforts.

García-Betancourt was not the only one recognized.

As per Stroll tradition, four local artists and patrons of the arts were honored by NoMAA. The honorees were percussionist and musician Annette A. Aguilar, artists René de los Santos and Sky Pape, and Janifer Wilson, principal of Sisters Uptown Bookstore.

To learn more about the 11th Annual Uptown Arts Stroll, please visit www.artstroll.com.

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