For a century, New York City has provided fodder for starving artists. Looking for traditional paintings? They’re here. Want to jam to the latest jazz, classical, or indie music? It’s here. Searching for inspiration from a half-naked man in go-go boots and an army sweater? Go to Greenwich Village on a Wednesday evening. The art world rushes to NYC, and NYC placates the art world.
For your inner artist, here’s a list of activities to satisfy those needs:
1. Watch a free film at Bryant Park: Can you say no to a free movie? On Monday nights this summer, Bryant Park plays to this desire and airs a diverse selection of fan-favorite films sure to satisfy the filmster, amateur critic, and the homeless man who dominated ping pong. Bryant Park: Continuing its culturing tradition. Check out the screening calendar here.
2. Blast to the past at the City Reliquary Museum: Housing NYC relics like Jackie Robinson portraits alongside porcelain unicorns, City Reliquary Museum entices visitors with its rustic charm and unique remnants, each item telling a tale of New York’s past–like pink unicorns and ‘70s Fanta bottles. On the plus side, the museum collaborates with PS-132. Alongside aged gems appears the student exhibitions, providing a nice juxtaposition of yesterday and today.
3. Scope (literally) at the Museum: Not just a museum, the Museum, Museum showcases the quirky, bizarre, and toothpastes from NYC and around the world. Imagine a massive lost-and-found bin loaded with items you kind of want. That’s Museum. Whether you’re on the search for Cambodian Menu Photo Rejects, Silicon Body Part Piercing Displays, or Mars Rocks, it’s here, and you never really know what you’ll find.
4. Painting and Wine Party: No, this isn’t at one of those abandoned warehouses in some sketchy part of Brooklyn, where bleach-haired men with German accents, wearing mesh, and sipping lime green drinks. Here you’ll uncork, literally, your creativity and brush, brush, brush. Sparking your inner artist–or even finger-painter–you can paint a beautiful rose while sipping a Rose. For the creative doer, this is what you should be doing.
5. What’s up at the International Center of Photography: Pictures, that’s what’s up. Old photos, new photos, big photos, Polaroid photos, black-n-white photos, sepia photos. Photos with tears, photos with heirs. Photos of towns, photos with gowns. Would you find one filled with grit? Could you find one with a… Okay, I’ll stop. But, if you’re interested in uncovering the world through high-resolution stills, ICP will do that.
6. Learn the tricks behind Street Photography: After enjoying the best photography NYC has to offer at ICP, why not learn the trade? Day after day, we strut through the city streets, bustling from work to home to bar to home, but do we really observe our surroundings? With a Street Photography Workshop, you’ll walk alongside a professional photographer, capturing the city’s nuances…or maybe your neighbor eating a sub.
7. Check out the legit city streets on a Graffiti Tour: Banksy, ROA, and Shepard Fairey have all made their rounds here. Even Kenny Scharf was recently arrested in Bushwick. Since mastering street photography, you may as well put your skills to the test by photographing real street art. Visiting 5 Pointz, SoHo spots, or the East Village, you’ll embrace and enjoy the urban vibes, witness some infamous pieces of street art, and probably scream in an alleyway.
8. Well, may as well learn graffiti at this point: “Property damage,” “crime,” and “plain ugly” too often describe graffiti. Of course, behind this negative perception rose a new type of graffiti led by Banksy, ROA, and others–a graffiti based on artistic integrity, social commentary, and the funny mustaches It’s time to learn the tag because…you’re it!
9. Open the Sketchbook in Union Square: Central Park may be the prettiest. Starbucks may be the most stereotypical. And the Museum of Sex may be the most provocative. But, if you’re looking for inspiration, Union Square is the place to be–from the beggar playing chess with a businessman to the artist drawing with sand–embodying all walks of NYC life.
10. Enjoy a free subway concert: You love ‘em. Bublé loves ‘em. We all love ‘em. Whether it be dueling banjos or a barbershop quartet, take out the earbuds and listen.