NORTHERN MANHATTAN — The Uptown Art Stroll is back and bigger than ever.
The monthlong celebration of music, poetry, art and theater kicks off its new season Friday night at the Morris Jumel Mansion.
This year's art stroll, which runs throughout the month of June, is expected to be one of the best ever, said Sandra Garcia-Betancourt, the executive director of the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, the stroll's organizer.
"It's going to be whole month of art," Garcia-Betancourt said. "You're going to see theater in the park, art exhibits in restaurants, concerts in churches."
This year's kickoff event will honor the founders of the stroll, including United Palace of Cultural Arts director Mike Fitelson, Community Board 12 and the Manhattan Times. Pulitzer-prize winner Quiara Alegria Hudes, author of the musical "In the Heights," will also be honored.
The art stroll, which began 10 years ago out of an effort to provide venues for uptown artists to showcase their work, has grown exponentially since its founding, Garcia-Betancourt said. While the 2003 stroll was a one-day event, this year's art stroll features 177 events at 62 venues between 155th and 218th Streets.
"It's just a beautiful manifestation of what's happening up there," Garcia-Betancourt said. "There are so many artists that live here and its a great opportunity to show their work and for the community to come out and find some great first-class entertainment."
The Uptown Art Stroll kick-off event will open at 6:00 p.m. and is free to the public. Visit artstroll.com for the full calendar of events.