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12th Annual Uptown Arts Stroll Kicks Off This Weekend

 This year the festival will expand to include West Harlem for the first time.
This year the festival will expand to include West Harlem for the first time.
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Edwin Ureña

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Culture vultures can take in a performance of Shakespeare in a local park, get a peek inside the studios of Uptown artists or learn about music and dance from around the world at the 12th Annual Uptown Arts Stroll starting Friday.

The stroll, which started as a one-day event in 2003, is now a month-long showcase for performing and visuals arts coordinated by the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance. This year, for the first time, the festival will expand its reach to include the northwestern section of Harlem.

The stroll begins with a celebration at the soon-to-open Sugar Hill Children’s Museum at 898 St. Nicholas Ave. on Friday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The event will honor some of Uptown’s creative luminaries including Tony award-winning playwright and performer Lin Manuel-Miranda; Ty Jones, artistic director of the Classical Theater of Harlem; Andrea Arroyo, a visual artist whose work is in the Smithsonian’s permanent collection; and Eduardo Gómez, who founded the popular WaHi online community group.

Some highlights from this year’s stroll include:

► On Saturday, the New York African Chorus Ensemble will present the sixth annual NYC Multicultural Festival. The all-day event features performances by musicians and dance troupes representing cultures from around the world. This year’s festival will feature special exhibits on the Harlem Renaissance and hats from around the world. The event takes place on St. Nicholas Avenue from 141st to 145th Streets and begins at noon.

► Visitors can learn the art of printmaking with Dominican York Proyecto GRAFICA, a Washington Heights-based printmaking collective. On Wednesday nights beginning June 3, the group will offer a series of workshops and demonstrations on the art form. Workshops for more advanced artists will be held on Saturdays beginning June 6. All events will be held at The Heights Gallery at 530 W. 178th St. While at the space, guests can also check out works from the groups’ artists in their latest exhibition.

► During the third weekend of the Arts Stroll, on Saturday, June 13, participants can take a peek inside the studios of Uptown artists as five west Harlem-based artists will open their spaces to the public. The following day, 20 studios in Washington Heights and Inwood will take part in the event. Styles range from multimedia collages of found objects to ceramics and watercolor.

► Pull up a blanket and take in a performance of one of Shakespeare’s best-known works at Inwood Hill Park. The Moose Hall Theater Company will kick off its 15th season of the Inwood Shakespeare Festival with a production of Hamlet. The free performances take place Wednesday through Saturday evenings from June 3-20. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. at the peninsula near Indian Road and 218th Street.

To see the full schedule of events and exhibits, visit NoMAA’s website.