Free Arts Day will take place on Sunday, Dec. 2 at varying times depending on sites. Made possible by ArtsWestchester and its member organizations, and sponsored by the JP Morgan Chase Foundation and The Journal News Media Group, the event offers the opportunity to enjoy free admission to historic sites, museums, films, concerts, art-making workshops and more–for the entire family.
In New Rochelle, people will have the opportunity to see the nativity items in The College of New Rochelle’s Kate Canty Crèche Collection. The crèches have been donated from one of the largest private collections in the country. The exhibit at the Castle Gallery will be open from noon to 4 p.m.
The New Rochelle Art Association's "Faces of America" exhibits featuring portraits of servicemen will be on view at Iona College's Brother Kenneth Chapman Gallery from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
A complete list of Free Arts Day offerings is available at www.artsw.org/freeartsday.
Other highlights Free Arts Day include free admission to Westchester’s leading museums, including Hudson River Museum (Yonkers), Katonah Museum of Art and Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art (Peekskill). There will also be a variety of workshops and events presented by an extensive collection of cultural organizations including The Play Group Theatre, Clay Art Center, Hudson Valley Writers Center, Rye Arts Center and more.
Free Arts Day was initiated in 2001, as a positive way to bring the community together in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedies. Since then, the event has steadily grown in popularity, attracting thousands each December and becoming a signature event of the holiday season in Westchester County.
“One mission for Free Arts Day is to make the arts of all kinds accessible to Westchester residents and tourists, regardless of their location or financial circumstances,” explains ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam. “We aim to enrich the lives of all residents and help them to experience the joy and benefits that the arts have to offer.”
The variety of events offered showcases the depth of talent in Westchester County: History buffs can enjoy a visit to Union Church in Pocantico Hills, courtesy of Historic Hudson Valley; music enthusiasts have the opportunity to hear famed pianist Robert DeGaetano at Downtown Music at Grace, presented by the Eastchester Arts Council; and film aficionados can take a behind-the-scenes look at an animated blockbuster film at Katonah Museum of Art.
Another mission of Free Arts Day is to provide an incentive for residents to discover (or re-discover) cultural organizations in their community. “I am confident that once residents discover these organizations, they will be impressed with the wonderful arts and cultural offerings in Westchester and will return to those establishments again,” says Langsam. “With the abundance and variety of participating organizations—dance companies, theaters, galleries and music halls—there is something for everyone.”
ArtsWestchester will be raffling off an iPad to one lucky Free Arts Day visitor. To enter the raffle, visitors should simply fill out the survey form at each Free Arts Day event they attend. Entrants may enter a form for each individual event they attend, thus increasing their chances of winning.