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Whitney Museum To Throw Opening 'Block Party' on Gansevoort Street

 The Whitney Museum of American Art's new building in the Meatpacking District opens May 1.
The Whitney Museum of American Art's new building in the Meatpacking District opens May 1.
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MEATPACKING DISTRICT — The Whitney Museum is taking over Gansevoort Street on May 2 for an all-day outdoor party.

The Renzo Piano-designed museum, nestled between the West Side Highway and the High Line, opens to the public for the first time on May 1.

"Our hope is that through this event we’ll welcome the neighborhood into the building and also offer some opportunities for neighbors to talk to artists," the Whitney's community affairs manager, Jane Carey, said at a recent community board meeting.

The block party will span Gansevoort Street from 10th Avenue to Washington Street, and will include one stage featuring all-ages puppetry, dance, music, and poetry performances, 10 tented booths featuring local American artists, and no commercial vendors (food or otherwise), according to the museum's application for a street activities permit.

The artists' booths will offer karaoke, performance workshops, and map-making taught by various local artists, including video and performance artist Trisha Baga, artist-run gallery Bed Stuy Love Affair, artists K8 Hardy and Ryan McNamara, "counter-cartographer" Lize Mogel, performance art collective My Barbarian, sculptor Nari Ward, and the Whitney Education Community Advisory Network, a group meant to allow local residents to give input into how the museum is run.

Carey said the artists will also have different "artist activations" on the street.

The performances will include musical artists from record label Camp & Street (Donchristian, Le1f, Rahel, Boody, and a special guest), a show from the performing arts program of the SoHo-based alternative youth center The Door, The Tracie Morris Band with special guests Mr. Jerome Harris and Jemman, Jacolby Satterwhite and La'fem Ladosha, and A Tribe Called Red.

The party will start at 10:30 a.m. and end at 6 p.m., Carey said. A museum official said the stage performances will go until 9 p.m.

The event is free, though tickets are required, and can be reserved online starting Monday, April 13.