After a long year of empty theaters and cancellations, New York City is slowly bringing arts and culture back to life in a new arts festival called NY PopUps, NBC reports. The festival began hosting outdoor events at the end of February all over the city and state, with live performances happening in parks, subways and other populous locations.
Beginning in April, select Broadway theaters will be used as performance venues, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. This move is being treated as a trial run as the state gradually reopens the entertainment sector — COVID-19 restrictions and all.
As said earlier in January, Dr. Anthony Fauci expects live performance venues like Broadway will be able to open back up in the fall. Cuomo’s announcement to introduce indoor performances to the city is a major step toward normalcy. With the nationwide increase of vaccination doses, hopefully we’ll be returning to what life was like before the pandemic sooner than expected.
What’s most exciting about this decision and the NY PopUps festival, in general, is the state government's recognition of the arts. New York is a hub of arts and culture for the U.S., and it hasn’t been the same since people became unable to purchase tickets and regularly attend performances, on and off Broadway.
Many, including myself, have been aching for the government to take immediate action to revive the arts. We’ve waited long enough — it’s about time that this effort has been made. Despite new strains of the virus, we seem to be making progress. Regardless, an entire year seems too long to have left these artists essentially jobless.
Artists all over the country have been struggling to find work for the last year, and many of them even moved out of NYC because they were unable to afford living there without a steady income. For the Broadway community in particular, many shows have unfortunately closed for good, which means some actors don’t even have a job to return to when Broadway does open. Hopefully the anticipated live performances will pull performers back to the city where they belong and generate more paychecks.
The NY PopUps festival is the first time that most New York artists and Broadway performers will get to share their craft with the world since COVID-19 hit last March. Now that indoor performance venues are being introduced, even more artists will be welcomed back into the industry. For many, this is a glimmer of hope that means we will soon return back to normal, and hopefully Zoom performances with no audience interaction will be a thing of the past.