By Lisa Kava
A celebration of music, dance and the arts will take place on the Upper West Side on Saturday, October 22, from 11AM to 4PM.
The second annual Amsterdam Eco-Arts Festival will be held on the open streets of Amsterdam Ave between 109th and 110th Street. The festival is organized by the West 80’s Neighborhood Association, the Columbus-Amsterdam BID, and Jody Sperling, founder of the dance company, Time Lapse Dance. “We want people to start thinking about streets as public spaces where they have full access to gather, dance and have fun community experiences,” Sperling told West Side Rag.
The schedule for the festival is as follows:
11 AM- 12PM: Community bulb planting
12-12:40 PM: Native American storytelling
12:45-2PM: Dance performance by Jody Sperling and Time Lapse Dance, entitled “Plant/Silvery” blue
2-2:30 PM: Family dance class
2:30-3:00 PM: Dance performance by Jill Sigman, a choreographer from Think Dance
2-4 PM: Community art project for families
Sperling, an Upper West Sider for 25 years, was introduced through a mutual friend to Melissa Elstein, co-founder of the West 80’s Neighborhood Association, who also has a dance background. Sperling and Elstein share a love of dance and the arts, and also a common goal of “activating open streets with joyful gatherings on land that is usually occupied by cars.” Wishing to initiate a celebratory event on an Upper West Side Open Street, they worked together with the support of the Columbus-Amsterdam BID, to create the first Amsterdam Eco-Arts Festival last fall. That event was attended by approximately 200 people.
The Open Streets Program, organized by the NYC Department of Transportation during the COVID 19 pandemic, has closed certain streets to cars at designated times in order to transform streets into public spaces. The Columbus-Amsterdam BID has been operating Open Streets on both Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues since the spring of 2020, Peter Arndtsen, BID manager told the Rag.
The Amsterdam Eco-Arts Festival on Saturday is free, open to the public, and advance registration is not required. Sperling and Elstein are hoping to spread the word for a positive turnout. They need volunteers to help plant bulbs at 11 AM, and to be part of the chorus for the dance performance at 2:45 PM. If you would like to get involved or volunteer, contact Jody Sperling at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It will be an awesome day celebrating urban nature, community, dance and the movement arts,” Elstein told the Rag.