WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — The Uptown Arts Stroll is going back to where it all began.
The Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance will return to the site of the very first Arts Stroll event when they kick off the annual monthlong creative celebration on May 29 at the Highbridge Park water tower.
NoMAA's reception will feature musical performances, works from local artists and food from area restaurants, as well as the chance to tour the recently renovated Highbridge Park Recreation Center, which reopened earlier this month after a three-year restoration.
"It's wonderful to be in there and let people see this beautiful space," said NoMAA director Sandra Garcia-Betancourt. "The first stroll happened here, and then they just went through a whole renovation."
The 200-foot water tower, itself a target for future repairs, will host NoMAA's ceremony, during which uptown visual artists René De Los Santos, Sky Pape, musicians Annette Aquilar and Sisters Uptown Bookstore owner Janifer Wilson will be honored with plaques for their work in the community. The ceremony will also feature performances by the WHIN Youth Orchestra.
In addition, NoMAA held an open call for artists for the reception, and Garcia-Betancourt said she expects dozens of artists will be on hand with their work on display.
"It's going to be surprise," she said. "We don't know which artists are coming. They're going to come with their paintings the day of the event."
The ceremony marks the start of the 11th annual Art Stroll, which will stretch from May 29 through June 30 and feature more than 140 different art galleries and installations, and performances, open workshops at dozens of venues throughout Washington Heights and Inwood. The first week alone features over 80 events, setting NoMAA up for what Garcia-Betancourt said could be the biggest Art Stroll yet.
"There are so many wonderful events," she said. "It's going to be hard to direct people to just one."
For the complete Uptown Arts Stroll schedule visit www.artstroll.com.