June 1, By Jason Cohen
The Kaufman Arts District will hold its first ever two-day arts festival next month featuring film screenings, art exhibits, workshops, performance art, music, cocktail making and more.
The Backlot Arts Festival will take place June 24 and 25 at venues within the Kaufman Arts District in Astoria. All events are free, except those at the Museum of the Moving Image (MMI), which requires paid admission. MMI is offering 2-for-1 admission during the festival.
The Kaufman Arts District, which was established in 2014, spans from 31st Street to the west, 34th Avenue to the north, Steinway Street to the east, and 37th Avenue to the south. It is home to the Museum of the Moving Image, Queens Council on the Arts and Frank Sinatra School of the Arts and shows like “Orange is the New Black” and “Sesame Street” are filmed there.
Among the events taking place are Cultural Pride, a live “wearable fashion show” performance piece curated by Maria de Los Angeles, which highlights the intersection of performance, fashion and sculpture; screenings of Steven Spielberg’s “The Color Purple,” “Empire of the Sun” and “Always at the Redstone Theater” at the Museum of the Moving Image; and screenings of films by Astoria resident Keith Bearden and Signe Baumane at The Zukor Theater at Kaufman Astoria Studios.
There will also be a pop-up gallery at the Queens Council of the Arts, a fine art exhibit at The Easement; book crafting at The Astoria Book Shop; a performance by violinist and Astoria resident Josh Modney at Nomad Cycle; an art installation at RaR Bar; musical performances at The Astor Room; the art of cocktail making at Mars and many more.
“The Kaufman Arts District produces a tremendous amount of extraordinary work across the artistic spectrum—painting, sculpture, theater, dance and music,” said Tracy Capune, vice president of Kaufman Astoria Studios, one of the founders of KAD. “The Back Lot Fest is a great way to showcase this talent and remind our local community to explore all that is happening here and to encourage visitors to check out this unique and vibrant neighborhood.”
Tina Stipanovic, curator of the Kaufman Arts District and owner of the RaR Bar, expects the event will benefit the entire community.
“The Back Lot Fest brings together the best of what the Kaufman Arts District has to offer and we’re very grateful to the dozens of artists who are participating and sharing their work with us,” Stipanovic said.
For a full list and schedule of events and updates to the schedule, visit kaufmanartsdistrict.org and follow #BackLot2017 and @KaufmanArts.