One of the coolest things about living and raising children in New York City is that you can experience so many different cultures up close and first hand without ever really leaving home. This month Carnegie Hall kicks off a huge two part, city-wide festival celebrating the art of Japan, JapanNYC. The whole thing starts this week and will be taking the city by storm with 65 different events in 22 venues around town, featuring the best of Japan’s art and culture in the form of orchestras, films, visual arts, drumming, Noh theater and pop art. Read on to find out our family friendly picks for the festival.
JapanNYC is broken into two parts. The first part starts this week and part two is in the Spring. The first section of the festival is definitely smaller of the two but features important concerts at Carnegie Hall including three performances of the one of the worlds best orchestras: Saito Kinen Orchestra conducted by Seiji Ozawa, I wouldn’t necessarily bring a little one to the concerts thanks to the 8 pm start time but you could consider it for tweens or teens. Concert dates are December 14, 15, and 18, 2010. Tickets cost $17 to $100.
Enchanting performances of the symphony composed specifically for children, Peter and the Wolf, will be performed by The Julliard Ensemble, narrated by Isaac Mizrahi and accompanied by a specially commissioned visual art installation inspired by anime at the Guggenheim. After the classic story of adventure and growing up is brought to life on stage, families can climb up to get a better look at the art installation. Get a sneak preview of the amazing show here. There are six performances left and tickets are still available. Tickets are $35.
Select branches of The New York Public Library are offering free magna and calligraphy workshops for kids aged 12 and older this month and then again in Spring 2011. Click here to find out when and where.
We have told you about this exhibit before, Yoshitomo Nara’s: Nobody’s Fool, a collection of works by Japan’s most famous neo-pop artist at the Asia Society. The exhibit features his striking works in three themes: isolation, rebellion and music. For the exhibit the Asia Society has partnered with HiArt! to provide family art workshops and there is one more scheduled (December 19, 2010, $15 per child and adults are free) before the exhibit closes on January 2, 2011. Museum Admission is $10 for adults and free for those under 16 years.
See the beautiful calligraphy scrolls of Hakuin Ekaku that he used as “visual sermons” in his teachings while they are on display in The Sound Of One Hand: Paintings And Calligraphy By Zen Master Hakuin Ekaku at the Japan Society. This is the first major presentation of his work and it closes on January 9, 2011. Children will delight in the deceptively simple yet intricate work of a Japanese Buddhist monk from the 18th Century. Museum Admission is $12 for adults and free for those under 16 years.
JapanNYC returns in March 2011 for the second part of the series, with Kodo Drumming, Gagaku – music played in the royal courts over 1000 years ago, family screenings of art and culture films from Japan, a bonsai exhibit at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden as well as some free community concerts featuring drumming and other Japanese music around town. Click here to find out more.
Visit the Mommy Poppins Museum Guide to find out what else is going in NYC's cultural institutions this year.