ASTORIA — The Kaufman Arts District will host its first-ever arts festival in June, with dozens of free events at venues across the neighborhood including film screenings, fashion shows, pop-up galleries and cocktail classes, according to organizers.
The Backlot Arts Festival — presumably named after Kaufman Astoria Studios' outdoor film lot on 36th Street — will take place June 24 and 25, and will showcase the area's growing cultural scene.
It will be the first such festival for the Kaufman Arts District, which was formed in 2014 in the section of Astoria bound by 34th and 37th avenues between 31st and Steinway streets.
The district is home to cultural venues like its namesake movie studio — where shows like "Sesame Street" and "Orange is the New Black" are filmed — as well as the Museum of the Moving Image, Queens Council on the Arts and Frank Sinatra School of the Arts.
"The Kaufman Arts District produces a tremendous amount of extraordinary work across the artistic spectrum," Tracy Capune, vice president of Kaufman Astoria Studios, said in a statement.
"The Back Lot Fest is a great way to showcase this talent and remind our local community to explore all that is happening here and to encourage visitors to check out this unique and vibrant neighborhood."
All the events will be free, except for movie screenings at Museum of the Moving Image, which will be offering two-for-one admission throughout the weekend and will be showing the Steven Spielberg films "The Color Purple," "Empire of the Sun," and "Always."
There will also be free art installations and exhibits at venues including Kaufman Astoria Studios, RaR Bar, and Cafe Treskell, as well as a pop-up art gallery at Queens Council for the Arts' space on 35th Avenue and 38th Street.
Other events will include live music at The Astor Room, Snowdonia and Nomad Cycle, cocktail-making lessons at Mar's, book crafting at Astoria Bookshop, a gardening workshop at Studio Nova and a fashion show in the outdoor courtyard at Museum of the Moving Image.
The exact schedule for the festival will be posted on the Kaufman Arts District's website. Curator Tina Stipanovic, who also owns RaR Bar, says it will ultimately include work by dozens of artists, according to a press release.
"The Back Lot Fest brings together the best of what the Kaufman Arts District has to offer," she said in a statement.