NEW YORK, NY (April 17, 2024) – Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (LCPA) today announced the third annual Summer for the City, welcoming New Yorkers to hundreds of free events over three months. 

A highly anticipated staple of New York City summers, this year’s festival features new commissions and a wide variety of programming bringing together thousands of artists from across the world in celebration of the multitude of cultural histories and stories that live within the city.

From June 12 to August 10 Lincoln Center’s campus transforms into a welcoming oasis where neighbors and New Yorkers from across the city can gather, relax, participate in performances, enjoy expanded food offerings at the Lincoln Center Night Market, and even play outdoor games. The outdoor spaces are designed by Visual Director Clint Ramos and inspired by flora and fauna of the American prairie, with greenery and plants by Donyale Werle Design, lighting designs by Andrew Grant, and projection designs by Zachary Borovay.

“Life, Liberty, and Happiness” is this year’s guiding curatorial theme, highlighting how active participation in the arts helps strengthen civic bonds and grow strong community. Throughout the summer, audiences are invited to be creators themselves—whether as songwriters, poets, dancers, or storytellers.

“The ethos that drives all we do for New York is to live up to our founding mission that the arts are for everyone. It is in service of this democratic ideal that we offer a summer with artistry from so many perspectives and lived experiences—all for free or Choose-What-You-Pay,” said Shanta Thake, Ehrenkranz Chief Artistic Officer of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Thake continued, “Our guiding theme this summer helps reinforce so much of what we all share, but sometimes lose in our busy daily lives. The arts are core to our collective well-being and to helping us realize our hopes and dreams for future generations. We look forward to coming together this summer with artists from across the globe and with neighbors from across New York City.”

This year’s festival includes several new commissions; a series of dynamic concerts with the Festival Orchestra of Lincoln Center in its first season with Renée and Robert Belfer Music Director Jonathon Heyward;a week-long celebration of Indian cultural traditions during India Week; a contemporary concert series curated by Nadia Sirota;the return of the BAAND Together Dance FestivalPride Month celebrations; Juneteenth events; comedy nights; activations at the intersections of the arts and technologywellness events and workshops; and expanded offerings for families.

The summer also shines a light on Deaf and disabled artists, with the return of Deaf Broadway; a Night of Access Magic silent disco curated by Kevin Gotkin;and performances centering disability artistry from guest curator Ryan J. Haddad.A relaxed open rehearsal with the Festival Orchestra, inclusive dance classes with Mark Morris Dance Group’s Dance for PD program, and the return of Big Umbrella Day are among the many access offerings for audiences. Additional highlights and a full calendar follow.

Summer for the City is presented in collaboration with organizations from across the city and the Lincoln Center campus, including Bushwick StarrCaribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora InstituteFilm at Lincoln CenterJazz at Lincoln CenterThe Juilliard SchoolKorean Cultural Center New YorkLa CasitaPEN AmericaNew York City BalletThe New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, NY Laughs,the School of American Ballet, and many more.

“In reaching people from all five boroughs and beyond with its warm welcome, Summer for the City has established itself as a New York tradition, but—as this year’s lineup shows—it’s a tradition as dynamic and inclusive as the city itself. When public space comes alive, it’s a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts, and we can’t wait to experience that anew this summer,” said Andreas Dracopoulos, Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), which is providing lead support for the festival’s community programming.

In recent years, Lincoln Center has expanded its role as an artistic and civic cornerstone, hosting dozens of blood drives, food distributions, naturalization ceremonies, graduations, and serving as a polling place, core to its broader commitment to the city and a statement of confidence in its enduring vitality. 

“There’s no place like New York City in the summer, where people across the five boroughs gather in our public spaces to enjoy the events, programming, and the magic of our city,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams.“For its third consecutive year, Lincoln Center will provide hundreds of free events to New Yorkers through Summer for the City so everyone can enjoy free, world-class art and cultural programming. Art is critical to our imagination and can help expand what we believe is possible for ourselves and our communities. That’s why it is critical that the City invests in our arts and cultural institutions, because all New Yorkers deserve to experience the life-changing power of the arts.”

Summer for the City initially grew from a need to bring together our community after the isolation of lockdown,” said Erika Mallin, Executive Director of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). “Over the past three years, it has affirmed the measurable healing benefits of arts and culture, bringing us together with new technologies and both free and affordable programming. Now a treasured cultural tradition, NYSCA is a proud supporter of Lincoln Center as it welcomes all New Yorkers to transformative and inspiring performances all summer long.”

“Lincoln Center’s Summer for the City is an amazing expression of the unmatched power that culture has to engage and connect New Yorkers with joy, excitement, enlightenment, education, and so much more,” said New York City Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo. “New Yorkers deserve every opportunity to connect with the cultural activity that makes living here so exciting, so I applaud the hundreds of free programs happening as part of Summer for the City, which are open and accessible to all. We’re proud to continue our work with Lincoln Center to bring the arts to all New Yorkers. I’ll see you this summer!”

The majority of the more than 200 events during Summer for the City are free, with select indoor performances having a Choose-What-You-Pay ticketing model, starting at $5.

Choose-What-You-Pay tickets go on sale to the public Thursday, May 16 at 12pm. Friends of Lincoln Center have pre-sale access to Choose-What-You-Pay tickets beginning Thursday, May 9 at 12pm.

Most free performances offer a free Fast Track line to gain priority access to the event ahead of the general admission line, and these free Fast Track registrations are available every Monday at noon for that week’s performances. Check event webpages on SummerForTheCity.org for performance-specific information on Fast Track availability or ticket on-sale dates.

Click here for full calendar of events.

A link to the online event calendar can be found at SummerForTheCity.org

Lincoln Center commissions featured in Summer for the City:

  • Soundcake-The opening night extravaganza features classically-trained drag queens—well-known from their stints on RuPaul’s Drag Race—Sapphira Cristál and Monét X Change,celebrating the fabulosity and queerness in opera. From Mozart to Mariah Carey, the superstars make their Lincoln Center debuts performing together for the first time in a sparkling new commission from director James Blaszko, featuring a full orchestra, conducted by David Bloom. (June 12)
  • The Dream Machine Experience – From the mind of the incomparable Nona Hendryx, comes a brand-new experience that pushes the boundaries of art and technology, combining the physical and digital worlds through Afrofuturist art, music, and storytelling. A press release with more information can be accessed here. (June 12 – 30)
  • Ethan Lipton & His Orchestra and Their Orchestra: Most of Us Love You Anyway– For the first time in its 20 years as a band, the cheeky Obie-winning quartet Ethan Lipton and His Orchestra—featuring Lipton as lead vocalist along with Eben Levy (guitar), Ian Riggs (bass), and Vito Dieterle (sax)—will realize its music with an actual orchestra, performing tracks from their latest album and the rest of their eclectic catalog. With arrangements and conducted by Giancarlo Vulcano. (June 28)
  • City of Floating Sounds-The Festival Orchestra of Lincoln Center’s official opening concerts feature Renée and Robert Belfer Music Director Jonathon Heyward leading the Orchestra in the North American premiere of Huang Ruo’s interactive work that fuses music and technology with a mobile app-enabled soundscape and live performance, co-commissioned by Factory International and LCPA. A press release with the Festival Orchestra roster and full summer season can be accessed here. (July 23, 24)
  • MVP – A multimedia tribute concert honoring the trailblazing work of filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles, written and hosted by his son Mario Van Peebles and scored by the soul-jazz-funk fusion collective Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber. (August 9, 10)
  • He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing– The closing concerts with the Festival Orchestra of Lincoln Center feature Jonathon Heyward conducting the world premiere of Hannah Kendall’s newest piece, co-commissioned by LCPA and Musikkollegium Winterthur. Alongside a curated panel series which explores arts and wellness, the final performances shine a light on the transformative power of music and connection to mental health. (August 9, 10)

Events at the intersections of the arts, participation, and civic engagement:

  • The world premiere performances of the final three anthems as part of Anthem to US— a new project presented by Brooklyn Public Library and Lincoln Center in collaboration with The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and Queens Public Library, that invites applicants of all ages and backgrounds to create a contemporary anthem to add to the canon. This concert also features beloved songs that have served as anthems of hope, peace, and persistence, directed by Keenan T. Oliphant, with Lara Downes as creative director, music. (July 6)
  • A special “crowd-composed concert”, Symphony of Choice, with the Festival Orchestra of Lincoln Center invites audience members to vote on pieces to co-create the evening’s program, conducted by Jonathon Heyward. (July 20)
  • The New York premiere of The Ritual of Breath Is the Rite to Resist, a transdisciplinary opera and creative act of resistance that was composed as a response to the murder of Eric Garner. Coinciding with the 10-year remembrance of his death, the remounting is directed by Niegel Smith, conducted by Kamna Gupta, with choreography by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. The work is presented in collaboration with Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth alongside a series of civic partnerships, community activations and healing rituals taking place in Staten Island and across the city. (July 19)
  • Civic Saturdays is an event series designed to unite friends and strangers in the spirit of shared community. Events include gatherings hosted by poet-in-residence Mahogany L. Browne in collaboration with Citizen University with conversation, music, reflection, keynote speeches, and more; performances, pop-up speeches, and artist talkbacks featuring songs and readings in collaboration with Voices of a People’s History; and a live event with WNYC’s All Of It with Alison Stewart for the Public Song Project, as part of their centenary. (June 15, June 29, July 13, July 20, July 27, August 3)
  • The 20th annual NYC In C features Terry Riley’s magnum opus, In C, performed by a broad community of musicians across the rock, classical, experimental, and jazz scenes, in their largest gathering yet. Led by composers Nick Hallett and Zach Layton, with Brian Chase from Yeah Yeah Yeahs on drums, the lineup includes Ava Mendoza, Matana Roberts, Qasim Naqvi, Zoh Amba, Gelsey Bell, Angélica Negrón, Kaoru Watanabe, Aba Diop, and Adam Tendler, with more names to be announced. (June 30)
  • The Black Studies: An Education for Me + You Bookmobile and Book Fair, developed by United Way of New York City in partnership with the Education Equity Action Plan Coalition (EEAPC), has embarked on a tour that includes stops in all five New York City boroughs. Ten thousand books will be distributed to students and conversations with Black authors, illustrators, and storytellers from across genres will be featured. The Bookmobile, an interactive museum on wheels, will make a stop on campus during the festival to provide an immersive learning experience. (June 22)
  • Pop culture meets activism with theRuidosa Fest, the Latine-led international feminist platform, with a full day of industry panels and conversations, and performances featuring artists from across the Latin diaspora, including iLE, Buscabulla, Fran Valenzuela, Salt Cathedral, Renee Goust featuring Khylie Rylo: CYBER MASHAKA, Riobamba, Tayhana and Mare Advertencia Lirika, and Mireya Ramos. (August 10)
  • A Century of Baldwin, a celebration of the iconic author, social critic, and culture changer James Baldwin, to commemorate the historic occasion of his centenary, presented in collaboration with National Black Theatre and The Baldwin Family Estate. (August 2)
  • Carl Hancock Rux commemorates the rich and varied history of Black American music in Some Sing: A Juneteenth Celebration—a campus-wide tribute to Juneteenth, featuring performances by Cooper-Moore, Tamar-kali, Stephanie McKay, and more. The evening culminates with a performance by Toshi Reagon, her band BIG LOVELY and special guests, and her participatory Songs of the Living Community Choir. (June 19)
  • The PEN America Little Library for Big Ideas, a book exchange available during the entire festival featuring a collection curated by authors Min Jin Lee and Julia Alvarez to be read on site as well as opportunities for New Yorkers to leave their own favorites. The book-sharing box features a range of authors and genres—from poetry and YA to fiction, non-fiction, and more—with books donated by PEN America and Bookshop.org. (June 12 – August 10)

This summer also sees the return of:

  • Social dance on The Dance Floorunder the now iconic disco ball, with dozens of genres all summer long. Featured artists include Abaddón New York Tango (June 21), the NYC Ska Orchestra (June 28), and Louie Vega (August 8), with returning favorites Joe McGinty & The Loser’s Lounge (June 20), Garba360 (July 11), Stud Country (July 25), and more—each beginning with a DJ set and dance tutorials across a variety of dance styles including ballroom, mambo, swing, salsa, line-dancing, and Hip-Hop.
  • Silent discos on The Dance Floormultiple nights per week with a diverse range of dance styles from cumbia, Hip-Hop, salsa, a celebration of LGBTQIA+ Pride, Indian traditional and contemporary music, and more.
  • The Underground at Jaffe Drive, a speakeasy-inspired space, hosting Comedy Underground, stand-up comedy nights with NY Laughs, and Jazz Underground, jazz nights with Jazz at Lincoln Center. New this year are Civic Saturdays; Living Music Underground curated by Juilliard faculty member Nadia Sirota and featuring performances from Ringdown, Claire Chase, Rafiq Bhatia, Josh Johnson, and JACK Quartet (July 12 – August 9); and performances centering disability artistry from guest curator Ryan J. Haddad.
  • The Outdoor Film Seriesin Damrosch Park, featuring an eclectic lineup of special screening events, complete with popcorn and drinks, and transmitted via Quiet Event headphones, in collaboration with Film at Lincoln Center.
  • The Wedding: New York’s Biggest Day, inviting hundreds of couples to our 16-acre campus and offering New Yorkers the chance to celebrate love. Directed by the Founding Artistic Director of Ars Nova, Jason Eagan, the celebration brings couples together for a multicultural ceremony with music, poetry, social dance and more, for a wedding that could only happen at Lincoln Center. (June 22)
  • Big Umbrella Day, a one-day iteration of Lincoln Center’s Big Umbrella Festival, creates relaxed spaces which specifically welcome neurodivergent audiences through multi-sensory experiences, performances, installations and workshops, and culminates in A Night of Access Magic silent disco. (July 6)
  • BAAND Together Dance Festival with five of NYC’s most iconic dance companies—Ballet HispánicoAlvin Ailey American Dance TheaterAmerican Ballet TheatreNew York City Ballet, and Dance Theatre of Harlem—performing together on one stage for five performances. Made possible by CHANEL (July 30 – August 3)
  • Deaf Broadway returns, performing Once On This Island entirely by Deaf actors in American Sign Language. (July 31)
  • Panel discussions presented as part of the Jameel Arts & Health Lab’s global Healing Arts initiative in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO). This summer’s sessions shine a light on the transformative power of the arts on our mental health and well-being, coinciding with the Festival Orchestra of Lincoln Center concerts. (July 26, August 2, August 9)
  • Our Echos Be Bloom, a meditative spoken word series hosted by Lincoln Center’s inaugural poet-in-residence, Mahogany L. Browne. (July 18, August 8)
  • Urban Bush Womenkicks off their 40th anniversary with a week-long series including participatory workshops, a discussion series, and site reflective performances of their newest work, Haint Blu! (July 26-August 4)
  • Featured musical performances in Damrosch Park including Rosanne Cash (June 23); the Brazilian trio Gilsons (July 17); Emily King(June 26); French jazz-funk group Cortex(June 27); K-pop star Yerin Baek(July 21); and a Comedy Night hosted by Kiran Deol featuring Aasif MandviHari KondaboluNimesh Patel, and Aparna Nancherla (July 13),presented as part of India Week.
  • The Art of Wellbeing, participatory movement and mindfulness sessions harnessing the power of the arts to engage the mind, body, and spirit, presented in collaboration with health and wellness experts at NewYork-Presbyterian, the Official Hospital of Lincoln Center. (June 15 – July 20)
  • Expanded offerings for families featuring interactive dance workshops and showcases with Dance Lab New York, Step Into The Light, and Jenn Lopez; Storytimes with the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; and performances with artists including La MangaSara Curruchich, Dobet GnahoréYacouba Sissoko & SIYA, and more.

Building off the success of Korean Arts Week during last year’s Summer for the City, this year’s festival immerses audiences in a range of festivities that highlight the depth of India’s cultural landscape during India Week (July 10-14), showcasing the country’s music, dance, art, cuisine, and more. Performances include silent discos curated by DJ Rekha, a performance by Ragamala Dance Company at Damrosch Park, a high-energy social dance party celebrating garba, comedy nights, a literary event presented by PEN America, and programming for families, presented in collaboration with Riff Festival.

Several additional events celebrate the multicultural communities of the city including a concert by Electric Fields and DEM MOB celebrating South Australians First Nations (June 22); Brasil Summerfest (July 5 & July 17); the San Juan Procession (June 23); the ¡VAYA! Series; Los Van Van (July 28); La Casita (July 21); globalFEST (August 3); a celebration of Jamaican Independence Day with Steel Pulse (August 4), Jaime Lozano & The Familia (July 31), Ars Nova Napoli (June 30), and the Ruidosa Fest (August 10) for the closing weekend.

New this summer is the Lincoln Center Night Market Presented by Chase, an outdoor food emporium open Wednesday – Sunday from 5pm to 10pm, featuring a wide range of cuisines at affordable prices including Jerrell’s Betr Brgr serving 100% plant-based burgers; Maya’s Snack Bar featuring Mexican dessert snacks; Harlem Seafood Soul with gourmet seafood and soul food; Japanese-style street food from Yakitori Totto; Manousheh, serving traditional Lebanese street food; and authentic Mexican from Taqueria al Pastor. There will also be a tent with rotating food offerings that align with that week’s programming. Joe Coffee will be available during the day. Additional vendors to be announced soon.

Events throughout the summer are inclusively designed, integrating access needs with a range of accommodations for select performances and upon request—from ASL interpretation, audio description, live captioning, haptic suits, relaxed performances and more. Select performances will be livestreamed across Lincoln Center’s social channels.

Accommodations for Summer for the City events include accessible seating; accessible entrances; all gender and gendered restrooms with accessible stalls; FM Assistive Listening Devices; alternatives to standing in line for entry; noise-reducing headphones, earplugs, and fidgets to borrow; and Chill Out Spaces, offering reduced noise and visual stimulation, for guests to take a break and reenter when they’re ready. In addition, many venues have higher weight capacity chairs, and David Geffen Hall features tactile maps and a hearing loop installed in the Wu Tsai Theater and box office. Visual directions, describing arrival instructions for neurodiverse communities, will be available online. For accommodations for specific performances and venues, visit event pages online or contact access@lincolncenter.org or 212-875-5375. Lincoln Center also offers an Access Concierge Service, with trained representatives to support guests with disabilities, and providing one on one support for individual guests and their party. To request this service, contact guestexperience@lincolncenter.org or 212-875-5456 at least one week before attending an event.  Guests are welcome to request additional accommodations for specific events.