Anyone who's ever been to the Annual Village Halloween Parade knows that the flock of giant puppets dancing above the crowds on Sixth Avenue is one of its most memorable sights. This year, for the first time, families will have a chance to work with the same artists who produce those spooky creations as part of Morningside Lights, a series of free art classes culminating in a twilight procession on Saturday, September 29. Here are some ways to make the most out of the inaugural art happening.
Make illuminated art
Stop by Miller Theatre all week for free, drop-in art workshops led by Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles (Sat Sept 22, Sun Sept 23 noon-6pm; Mon Sept 24-Fri Sept 28 2-8pm). Guided by the theme of this year's procession, The Imagined City, the artists teach families basic lantern-making techniques, like bamboo-forming, dcoupage and paper casting. Everyone will contribute ideas of what might belong in their cityscape (skyscrapers and taxicabs, anyone?), and the artists will design the final sculptures using these figments of collective imagination. Some lanterns will be several feet wide and will require a whole family to carry them.
Learn about urban space
As they work on their lanterns, older kids may enjoy learning about utopian visions of urban space as well as the legacy of urban planning in one of the city's most diverse neighborhoods: the intersection of Morningside Heights, Harlem and the Upper West Side. Through its shared act of creation and public performance, Morningside Lights aims to celebrate the revitalization of this uptown crossroads.
Create some noise
Musicians of all ages and abilities are invited to contribute to the procession's soundscape, which will be arranged by composer Nathan Davis. Budding Beethovens can make an instrument or embed a bell in their sculpture during one of the drop-in workshops; they'll gather to rehearse their music an hour before the procession. New Yorkers can also record their favorite city sounds (think subway trains, birds chirping in Central Park, honking taxis) and submit them to Davis; he'll incorporate them into the score, which will be broadcast on handheld radios during the procession.
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