Photo by Miranda Suess
Westchester County is a one-stop shop for fun for all ages, with arts, festivals, films, poetry readings, and more to entertain locals.
Lotus Chamber Music Collective
The Lotus Chamber Music Collective was founded in Westchester to highlight diversity in classical music and is the recipient of the Ensemble Forward Grant from Chamber Music America, made possible by the New York Trust in 2020 and 2021. Join their virtual book club, covering social issues in the world of classical music, or attend one of their concerts in the Westchester and Tristate area to hear new pieces the music collective has commissioned from diverse composers.
Innovative Art Exhibition
With Every Fiber at the Pelham Art Center
When was the last time you explored an exhibition focused solely on eye-popping fiber art? No worries — it’s been a while for us too. Luckily, we can all get our fill of some incredible textile-based work with the Pelham Art Center’s unlikely show With Every Fiber, which features artists such as Joy Curtis, Whitney Quisgard, and Mary Tooley Parker forming pieces using little more than thread and limitless creativity.
Garden & Grounds Restoration
Although the extensive overhaul of Lyndhurst’s scenic gardens, edifices, and grounds began in 2017, the mansion’s transformation will not be complete until after 2027. That doesn’t mean visitors can’t enjoy some fruits of the enhancements in the meantime, as Lyndhurst has just finished the overhaul’s first two phases, with their rockeries, rose garden, cherry orchard, paths, and veranda, now ready for eager eyes.
Concepts in Clay: Artists of Color at the Clay Art Center
The problem of BIPOC artists not getting the attention they deserve is being remedied by institutions like the Clay Art Center, which made a major step forward in recognizing these individuals with their new exhibition, Concepts in Clay: Artists of Color. Featuring renowned innovators, including Adero Willard, Nathan Murray, Lydia C. Thompson, and Paul Briggs, the exhibition was a welcome spotlight on celebrated Black ceramicists from across the nation.
Public Art Display
Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge Bicycle & Pedestrian Path
What could be better than a stroll across the majestic Hudson River accompanied by gorgeous pieces of public art? Serving as administrator for the project and working with the state to bring it to life, ArtsWestchester made this dream a reality by adorning New York’s newest and longest bridge with 10 impressive works of public art by notable area creators, including Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong, Wendy Klemperer, and Ilan Averbuch.
Poetry & Fiction Readings
Hudson Valley Writers Center
Despite a pandemic raging in the background and local arts and culture in disarray, Sleepy Hollow’s Hudson Valley Writers Center did not a miss a beat. It continued through the pandemic to not only host weekly poetry and fiction readings with some of the nation’s most lauded writers but also offer its valuable workshops and resources for young scribes.
Venue for Serenity
Hammond Museum & Japanese Stroll Garden
Western and Eastern culture converge in bucolic North Salem, at the Hammond Museum & Garden. After you’ve excited your eyes and mind at any of the museum’s stirring exhibitions or illuminating educational programs, you can repair to the outdoors, where your soul will be steeped in succor within the Hammond’s gossamer 60-year-old garden, undergoing a 2021 revitalization expected to elevate the tableau to all-new heights.
Virtual Film Club
The Picture House
The Picture House is one of the only film centers that offered a virtual, interactive film club since the pandemic started. How does it work? Each session meets for six Wednesdays in a row and subscribers watch new films together (virtually) and then engage in a lively discussion and Q&A, or they watch the films independently and then meet online with the guests. Films vary from indies and documentaries to buzzworthy Oscar-nominated films before they are released.
Quarantine Movie Streaming Source
Jacob Burns Film Center
When movie theaters, well, go dark, the hottest ticket is this renowned art house’s Virtual Marquee, bringing solace to your inbox each week with new selections of international films, festival picks, unique series, shorts, retro revivals, and discussion events. Reasonably priced and a tier above streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu (lost as we may be without them sometimes).
Arts Organization Quick Pivot
Downtown Music at Grace
When the world turned upside down, without missing a beat, Downtown Music wasted no time immediately pivoting to a winning solution that saved its remaining seasons, the scheduled musicians, and its devoted fans. Virtually (and more intimately) through YouTube, fans continued to enjoy the full weekly Wednesday Noonday Concerts, featuring the range of extraordinary music (even a unique theremin concert) they had come to know and love. An unexpected benefit resulted: an expanded audience — a win-win!
Pop-Up Retail Experiences
914 Pop Ups
White Plains Shopping for a cause is a lot more fun with fashionista Melissa Tomlin’s 914 Pop-Ups: unique retail experiences that bring style-savvy Westchesterites together while helping promote small, local brands and benefiting local charities. Frequently held at The Westchester, recent 914 Pop-Ups shopping experiences have featured New Rochelle-based jewelry line A D’Zine, Peekskill Knitwear shop Two Knit Wits, and Putnam County candle company Jar Worthy. Events have supported the Pediatric Cancer Foundation and The Lady Box Project Westchester, among others. Discover the next event on Instagram: @914popups.
Creative Crafting by Cynthia
Plan ahead if you want to book Cynthia Vele to make your event special. Her creativity and attention to detail combined with a can-do enthusiasm make her an in-demand party fave. Need the perfect balloon for a unicorn-themed sleepover? Call Vele — but do it soon!