The Harlem Arts Festival (HAF) is a multidisciplinary arts organization that produces performances throughout Harlem each year, culminating in an annual festival taking place the last weekend of June, that showcases local performers to inspire and nourish the artistic community in Harlem. It aims to promote arts education and literacy by implementing arts-related discussion forums, educational workshops, performance opportunities and activities for youth and family. This project is part of Harlem’s addition to the larger, citywide commitment to provide free art in the public parks during the spring and summer months.
Artists are selected for the festival through an application process, vetted by HAF’s Artist Selection Committee. Are that are selected each year join the HAFamily, which gives them a number of opportunities. In addition to having to performing at the Harlem Arts Festival, HAF Artists are given regular opportunities to showcase their work in venues around New York City, to conduct workshops, classes and residencies in local schools, and are given tools and guidance via media clips, photography, video footage, rehearsal space, recording studio time, mentorships and more to assist them in creating materials that can be sent to presenters for further career growth. The Harlem Arts Festival also has a number of relationships with organizations and individuals that become part of the artists’ network as well. All opportunities for HAF Artists are compensated with honorariums.
Founded in 2010, the Harlem Arts Festival takes place in the newly renovated Richard Rodgers Amphitheater and the surrounding park. The goal of the Harlem Arts Festival is to fuel the prosperity of our neighborhood and mark the Amphitheater as a world‐class cultural venue. We are interested in presenting artists across genres — dance, music, theater, and visual arts — whose work contributes to the contemporary and popular dialogue of the Harlem community.
In only 3 years, the Harlem Arts Festival has showcased more than 115 artists on its two stages. HAF has garnered press from media outlets such as ABC News, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The New York Daily News, The Village Voice, Amsterdam News, Flavorpill, and more. Attendance has grown exponentially since its founding in 2012 with more than 6,000 attendees in 2014 alone. The festival’s reputation continues to grow, marking the amphitheater as a performance destination for world-class artists while cultivating local talent.
The 2014 festival marked a year of impressive partnerships and growth. The festival expanded its programming to three days, co-presented its Opening Night Party with Revive Music, and worked with Jazz at Lincoln Center to present its Jazz for Young People on Tour program.