• Blair Krassen

“NY PopsUp”: New York’s First Step in Revitalizing It’s Arts Scene

Back in January, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced NY PopsUp, a state-wide performing arts festival, as part of a comprehensive arts revival plan for the state. This festival, happening now until Labor Day, will feature all kinds of performers—such as dancers, musicians, comedians, actors, actresses and more. Hugh Jackman, Mandy Patinkin, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kenan Thompson are just some of the celebrities set to make appearances throughout the festival. Governor Cuomo believes the festival will be a bridge to a full and safe return of the arts in the state of New York. NY PopsUp is organized by interdisciplinary artist Zack Winokur in partnership with a council of additional artists.


Tap Dancers from the American Tap Dance Foundation

Copyright: Amanda Gentile

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said when speaking about NY PopsUp, "Creative synergies are vital for cities to survive, and our arts and cultural industries have been shut down all across the country, taking a terrible toll on workers and the economy. We want to be aggressive with reopening the State and getting our economy back on track, and NY PopsUp will be an important bridge to the broader reopening of our world-class performance venues and institutions. New York has been a leader throughout this entire pandemic, and we will lead once again with bringing back the arts."


Festival campaign leaders, Scott Rudin and Jane Rosenthal, said, "As two lifelong New Yorkers, it has been utterly devastating to see our creative community brought to an absolute standstill for a year. It's inconceivable. We both spend our lives generating opportunities for artists, so we were both thrilled to be asked by Governor Cuomo to try to ignite a spark to bring art and performance back to life for the State.”


The first of what will be over 1,000 performances kicked off on Feb. 20 at the Javits Center in Manhattan with an exclusive free performance for healthcare workers. The performance featuring musician Jon Batiste, Broadway’s Anthony Roth Costanzo, vocalist Cecile McLorin Slavant, and dancer/choreographer Ayodele Casel spread in a procession across all five boroughs. A day later, the excitement moved upstate as Garth Fagan Dance (led by Broadway's The Lion King choreographer Garth Fagen) put on a special performance for the staff at the Rochester Institute of Technology.


NY PopsUp logo

Copyright NY PopsUP


NY PopsUp has been coordinated alongside Public Health Officials and is structured to abide by Covid-19 protocols. In order to limit capacity, not all pop up performances will be announced ahead of time. Starting on April 2nd, select Broadway theaters will be permitted to re-open their doors at 33% capacity to accommodate NY PopsUP performances. Other medium-sized venues, such as The Apollo, Harlem Stage, and The National Black Theatre, will be allowed to host performances with a limit of 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors. Many of the performances will be live streamed for those who are unable to attend in person.


Mayor Bill de Blasio is issuing permits to New York City residents who wish to perform outdoors in line with the festival through the Open Culture Program. As a result of this initiative, performances may take place in various locations such as parks, museums, parking lots, subway platforms and even street corners. In collaboration with the festival, Little Island at Pier 55 is set to open this Spring. The “floating park” featuring a 700-seat outdoor amphitheater, a play area for children, and a hidden garden will become a hotspot for NY PopsUp performances as well as resident performers. This new park, with a refreshing contemporary design, will also feature a 180 degree overlook of the Hudson River.



Stay updated on the latest NY PopsUp performances by following @NYPopsUp on Twitter and @nypopsup on Instagram.