Things to do in NYC for art lovers
There’s no shortage of artistic inspiration in New York City. From watching live theatre to attending a dance performance to appreciating the city’s colorful murals, the opportunities to participate in art-centric outings are countless in the Big Apple. Whether you’re a songwriter, actor, painter, or even just a creative soul, here’s a list of things to do in NYC for art lovers of all kinds.
See an Off-Broadway play.
Of course, hit Broadway shows like Aladdin or Chicago are always worth seeing. But don’t overlook the importance of smaller productions taking place throughout the city. Some performers involved in Off-Broadway shows are pursuing their passion, and it’s interesting to observe actors, directors, and screenwriters in the early stages of their careers. Plus, you might have the opportunity to see a celebrity in a leading role on an Off-Broadway stage. These shows are also much more intimate than larger, blockbuster productions.
Listen to subway performers.
New Yorkers are always rushing during their commute, and most plug in their earbuds to drown out the city’s noise. Many buskers, however, are incredibly underrated and tend to have more musical talent than the majority of what we hear on the radio nowadays. Even stars like Michael Bublé consider it an honor to be able to stop and sing with a group of vocalists on a subway platform.
Watch a street artist.
Several videos have gone viral on social media – from caricature artists in Central Park to spray painters who make beautiful poster boards for people on the sidewalk. But how many of us actually stop to observe the whole process? The hustle of street artists in this city – not to mention, the level of talent – is nothing short of inspiring. Where’s some of the city’s best street art? Try Williamsburg and Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Attend a poetry slam.
Poetry slams are fantastic in that they combine live performance with the art of the written word. Even if you’re not a poet yourself, a night of poetry is one of NYC’s “must” experiences. It’s amazing how a piece of writing, delivered in the right way, can evoke such a wide range of emotions from the audience. Try the Bowery Poetry Club or the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.
Perform at an open mike.
For singers, musicians, and live performance poets, it’s a rite of passage to perform at an open mike night in New York City. Even if you suffer from stage fright, it’s one of those things that you just have to do. Not only is it a great way to practice performing in front of a live audience, but you never know what inconspicuous talent scout might be watching. The industry may be saturated, but once in a while, some artists could still get discovered the old-fashioned way at famed spots like StandUp NY and the Village Underground.
Go to an art gallery opening.
There’s absolutely no shortage of art galleries in New York City. Check online for gallery openings and exhibitions by new artists in neighborhoods like West Chelsea and Bushwick, and see one for yourself. Who knows? You just may be witnessing the career launch of the new “it” artist, and it’s a great way to network with other creatives.
What better way to hone your skills than to learn from some of the best in your field? Artists living in NYC are fortunate to have a wealth of information available at their fingertips, as talented professionals regularly offer classes and workshops to the public. Take advantage of your geographic privilege, so to speak, and enroll in classes at well-known schools such as the Acting Studio, Broadway Dance Center, and the Art Students League of New York, each legendary in their respective art forms.
Bike photo by James Maher. Broadway Dance Center photo by the business.
And for storytellers, we recommend checking out The Moth.