The 36th Annual Museum Mile Festival will take place this year on Tuesday, June 10th from 6-9pm. It’s an evening when nine museums along Fifth Avenue (from 82nd-105th Streets) are all free. Many of the participating museums will offer opportunities to make art. At the Museum of the City of New York you can create a giant chalk mural based on the graffiti styles shown in the “City as Canvas” exhibit on view at the museum. The Jewish Museum will have music playing, and an opportunity to make works of art inspired by the works of Mel Bochner, using letter stamps and color sticks.
It’s great to go into as many museums as you can. I’d also use the evening to go visit a museum you would not normally go to. One to consider is El Museo del Barrio, focused on the art and artifacts of Caribbean and Latin American cultures. The museum was founded 40 years ago by artist and educator Raphael Montañez Ortiz and a coalition of parents, educators, artists, and activists who felt that mainstream museums largely ignored Latino artists. El Museo’s permanent collection contains over 6,500 objects, including pre-Columbian Taíno artifacts, twentieth-century drawings, paintings, sculptures and installations, as well as prints, photography, documentary films, and video.
A special exhibit to check out during the Museum Mile Festival is “Museum Starter Kit: Open With Care.” This exhibition “explores the significance of the creation of El Museo by focusing on works of art made by Raphael Montañez Ortiz, as the artist turns 80 this year,” according to El Museo.
Another special exhibit with an eclectic group of paintings, sculptures and videos is “Presencia,” which has works from the museum’s permanent collection. One I really liked was a wall sculpture made from latex flip flops by the Guatemalan artist, Benvenuto Chavajay.