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Arts & Cultural Events

CULTURE SHOCK: The High Line's Season Kick-off

Saturday, April 21, 2018
1 – 7pm
On the High Line between Gansevoort St. and West 26th St.

Join us as we kick off the 2018 season with a bang! Culture Shock is our annual, full-day festival of music, art, performance, horticulture, and hands-on activities. Bring your family and friends and experience the High Line in full swing.

We encourage all persons with disabilities to attend. To request additional information regarding accessibility or accommodations at a program, please contact or (646) 774-2179. Program venues are accessible via wheelchair, and ASL interpretation can be arranged two weeks in advance.

FEED: A garden soundscape


Brooklyn-based Native American poet Tommy Pico creates a self-guided soundscape inspired by the High Lines plants and microclimates that explore issues of reconciliation between city and nature, past and present, and being indigenous in America. Oh, and with some Cranberries thrown in for good measure.

Produced in partnership with Poets House.

DJ April Hunt


On the High Line at 16th St.

Groove throughout the day as you grab a bite to eat—DJ April Hunt weaves a diverse musical palette, mixing genres from the 1970s through today.

Leaning into Design
1–2pm (every 10 minutes) at the Seating Steps on the High Line at 22nd St.

In this original dance and movement performance with neighbors’ participation, Parcon NYC brings its unique mash-up of parkour and contact improvisation to explore the High Line’s physical structure.

Young Voices

On the High Line at 17th St.

Join poets Najee Omar and Nick Water as they bring new, young voices to the stage for a thought-provoking and memorable poetry performance. Featuring Kayla Jacobs, Miami McCormick, Muñeca Mowla, Tiama Nakiyah, and Denzel Valdez.

A Serenade to Agora

Meet at Gansevoort Plaza (at street level); the tour will move north

Artist Ander Mikalson conceives a roving, musical serenade to the new High Line Art exhibition Agora, with members of PitchBlak Brass Band performing instrumental versions of popular love songs, each dedicated to a specific piece. Follow the sound and be surprised by the evocative, immediate connections to the art.

Poets & Activists


On the High Line at 17th St.

Tim Duwhite, Sonia Guiñansaca, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, and “Simply Rob” Vasilarakis speak truth to power in a formidable performance on immigration, feminism, and social justice.

Los Cumpleaños
On the High Line between 15th St. and 16th St.

End the day with this downtown punk rock band playing a mix of classic-era Cumbia, Porro, Son Caribeño, Salsa Criolla, and Bullerengue sounds with a cutting-edge new wave twist.

1–5pm on the High Line at 14th St. Passage

For toddlers to 12 years old, and their caregivers

Art-Making: Natural Graffiti


Join Mexican artist Hugo Rojas, and help cover the walls of the High Line in graffiti—using moss, plant material, and a natural-ingredient glue. Children will learn about native plants and animals in the park, including the big brown bat and the American robin, as they help transform the space into a work of art.

Falu’s Bazaar

1–1:30pm & 2–2:30pm

Take a musical journey through South Asian music and culture with instruments made from plants and animals.

Michael & The Rockness Monsters

3:30–4pm & 4:30–5pm

Michael Napolitano (founder of Preschool of Rock) creates an interactive, super-galactic-funk-inspired, rock-n-roll experience for families in a musical celebration of nature and art.

About the Artists:
Tommy Pico is author of the books IRL (Birds LLC, 2016), Nature Poem (Tin House Books, 2017), and Junk (Tin House Books, 2018). He was a Queer/Art/Mentors inaugural fellow, 2013 Lambda Literary fellow in poetry, 2016 Tin House summer poetry scholar, a 2017 NYSCA/NYFA Fellow in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts, won the Brooklyn Public Library’s 2017 Literature Prize, and received the 2017 Friends of Literature Prize from the Poetry Foundation. He’s been profiled in Nylon, Time Out New York, and the New Yorker. Originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, Pico now lives in Brooklyn where he co-curates the reading series Poets With Attitude (PWA) with Morgan Parker, co-hosts the podcast Food 4 Thot, and is a contributing editor at Literary Hub.

DJ April Hunt mixes for cultural happenings at large. Recent sets include, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (São Paulo, Brazil); Uptown Triennial (NY, NY); Storm King Gala at the Rainbow Room(NY, NY); Blexcellence Miami Basel (Miami, FL); Derrick Adams: Future People Opening (Chicago, IL), Studio Museum’s Uptown Fridays (NY, NY).

Parcon NYC is an inclusive, cooperative movement practice that challenges conformity to pedestrian movement through expression primarily inspired by Parkour and Contact Improvisation. Parkour is a urban obstacle course running form that prioritizes efficiency and the conquering of self determined challenges. Contact Improvisation is a duet dance form where two or more people share weight and momentum on a dance floor through any part of their body. In Parcon, movers cooperate to share weight in interdependent relationships with objects, assistive devices, each other and the environment.

Najee Omar is possessed. A Brooklyn-based poet, performer, and educator, Najee uses the arts to engage and cultivate community. He is the recipient of fellowships from The Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop and Poetry Incubator for Emerging Poets. His selected features include Russell Simmons’ All Def Poetry, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and colleges and universities across the United States. Najee is the Founder, Executive Director of Spark House: an arts education organization dedicated to developing youth voice and promoting social/emotional well-being. As a teaching artist, he turns classrooms into stages by conducting poetry and performance workshops for inner city and high need youth in schools and juvenile justice facilities across the country. Najee is a 2018 Artist-in-Residence with the Intergenerational Community Arts Council. When he is not adulting, you can catch Najee trolling online at @najeeomar.

PitchBlak Brass Band uses the epic sounds of tubas, trombones, saxophones and other typically non-hip hop instruments in the spirit of The Roots and some of rap’s iconic live bands, to deliver an energy that samples, loops and breakbeats can’t always capture. Their blend of soundscapes and lyrical exuberance creates a grand adventure in listening, one that can hold the attention of music fans from across a fairly wide spectrum.

Timothy DuWhite is a writer, poet, playwright, performance artist, and activist. His work is both brave and exhilarating, and directly addresses difficult and controversial issues such as HIV, state sanctioned violence, racism, and queerness. He has performed at the United Nations/UNICEF, Apollo Theater, Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe, Bowery Poetry Club, Dixon Place, La Mama Theater, Issue Project Room, on the behalf of Adidas and many more. His writing and poetry can be found in The Rumpus, The Root, Afropunk, Black Youth Project, The Grio, and elsewhere. A committed educator, he has facilitated workshops at New York City’s legendary Urban Word, the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project, Housing Works, and Rikers Island. A finalist for Poet’s House Emerging Poets Fellowship, he is currently at work on a one man play at Dixon Place, where he is artist-in residence. Currently the Program Director at New York Writers Coalition, Timothy lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Sonia Guiñansaca is a Queer Migrant Poet , Cultural Organizer, and Activist from Harlem by way of Ecuador. Guiñansaca a VONA/Voices alumni has performed at El Museo Del Barrio, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, the NY Poetry Festival, Galleria de La Raza, The Met, and featured on NBC, PBS, Latina Magazine, Pen American, and the Poetry Foundation to name a few. She has presented keynotes, workshops, panels at universities throughout the country. She has been named as 1 of 10 Up and Coming Latinx Poets You Need to Know by Remezcla, as well as one of 13 Coolest Queers on the Internet by Teen Vogue, the 2017/2018 Artist in Residence at NYU’s Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, and recently announced as 1 of 4 U.S.A Future Leaders Delegates for the British Council. She has emerged as a national leader in the undocumented/migrant artistic and political communities. Co-founded and help build some of the largest undocumented organizations in the country, coordinating and participating in groundbreaking civil disobedience actions in the immigrant rights movement. She has also founded some of the first creative artistic projects by and for undocumented writers/artists. Leading cultural work as the Managing Director at CultureStrike. Twitter/IG @thesoniag

Melissa Lozada-Oliva is a spoken word poet & MFA candidate living in Brooklyn NYC whose fierceness and charm have made her a poetry phenomenon. Her book, Peluda, published by Button Poetry, was named one of Remezcla’s 10 Best of the Year, and Melissa’s work has appeared on countless media outlets across the web. Melissa’s ability to speak truth to power as an unapologetically feminist Latina comes as a breath of fresh air to people expecting the “same old poetry.” Blending power, warmth, and flat-out hilarity, Melissa leaves readers and audiences not only excited about changing the world, but equally excited about being a part of that change.

“Simply Rob” Vassilarakis is a born and raised NY’er of Greek and El Salvadoran descent. Disowned at the age of 17 for being gay, he was forced to leave his mama’s boy life behind. Taking to the streets and learning how to fend for himself paved the road for his spoken word journey with concrete inspiration. His life experience has led him to dedicate himself to working with the “at risk” inner city youth of NYC focusing on issues of sex/sexual identity and HIV/AIDS prevention and education. A founding member of El Grito De Poetas all Latino poetry collective, Simply Rob is also the subject of an multi award winning self titled documentary short which has toured the film festival circuit around the globe. Acting credits include Miguel Piñero’s one act play,”Sideshow,” Charles Rice Gonzalez’s “Los Nutcrackers: A Christmas Carajo” at the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD) and most recently in Viviann True Rodriguez’s, “In Defense of Glitter and Rainbows.” Currently, Simply Rob is a clinic supervisor and HIV and STI Testing Counselor and Nationally Certified Phlebotomist at GMHC’s David Geffen Center for HIV Prevention and Health Education.

Los Cumpleaños play classic era Cumbia, Porro, Son Caribeño, Salsa Criolla and Bullerengue from Colombia with the energy of a downtown punk rock band washed in a sea of cutting-edge psychedelic new wave synths & wild style retro organ sounds. They seamlessly combine heavy grooves and experimental sounds into a energetic, danceable, one-of-a-kind musical experience. Cumpleaños features virtuoso percussionist/vocalist Nestor Gomez from Barranquilla, Colombia, Lautaro Burgos from Chaco, Argentina on Drumset as well as Eric Lane on Keyboards and Alex Asher on Trombone from the USA. The members of Los Cumpleaños have played with a variety of notable artists including: Anival Velazquez, Lizandro Meza, Juan Piña, Alfredo Gutierrez, MAKU Soundsystem, Orquesta Dee Jay, Beyoncé, Joan as Police Woman, People’s Champs & The Superpowers.

Hugo Rojas was born in Mexico City, the second son of Oscar Rojas and Bertha Godinez. During his early years, he moved to a small village called Congregación Almoloya in Oaxaca, Mexico, where he grew up. Hugo Rojas currently lives in New York City where he has been exploring photography, video and street art as a means of intervention. His photography has been exhibited in Mexico, United States, Spain. Hugo currently teaches Spanish and Media Arts at the Urban Assembly Media High School in New York City and is completing his graduate degree in Media Studies at The New School.

Michael and the Rockness Monsters was started by the founder of Preschool of Rock, Michael Napolitano.An interactive, super galactic – funk inspired, rock-n-roll experience for families.

The shows and music of this act shine with creativity. The music is both silly and serious—filled with catchy melodies and thick instrumentation. Their records, masterly produced by Grammy winner Dean Jones, are a voyage into the child’s subconscious. During his 10 year tenure as founder of Preschool of Rock Michael wrote, produced, performed and recorded 5 records leaving him super tuned in to the landscape of children’s music. His 10 years as a member of the Blue Man Group Creative Team is evident in the slamming drum beats and eclectic instrumentation that will get your hips moving. The music is intelligent, fun and full of humorous hooks and catchy quirks.

Falu’s Bazaar is musical project for kids started by Falu Shah after the birth of her son.Falu is internationally recognized for her rare ability to seamlessly blend a signature modern inventive style with a formidable Indian classically-shaped vocal talent. In her early years in Bombay, singer Falu (aka Falguni Shah) was trained rigorously in the Jaipur musical tradition and in the Benares style of Thumrie. She later continued studying under the late sarangi/vocal master Ustad Sultan Khan, and later with the legendary Smt. Kishori Amonkar (Jaipur style). Originally from Bombay, Falu moved to the States in 2000 and was appointed as a visiting lecturer at Tufts University. Falu’s subsequent career in the States had led to a series of brilliant and high profile collaborations with Yo-Yo Ma, Wyclef Jean, Philip Glass, Ricky Martin, Blues Traveler and A. R. Rahman amongst others. She was appointed Carnegie Hall’s ambassador of Indian Music in 2006, where her shows at Zankel Hall have consistently sold out. Falu has performed for President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House and was also the featured performer at the Time-100 gala in 2009. Falu’s kids project, “Falu’s Bazaar”, takes families on a musical journey through South Asia. A musical journey through South Asian culture and around the globe, the album and live show celebrate the instruments, languages, sights, and humanity of a diverse world. Children learn through song how to introduce themselves in Hindi, obeying traffic signals, about animals, counting, spices, South Asian cooking, diversity of cultures, and how to have fun as part of a human train!

Nick Water is an activist, rapper, and architect, born and raised in Queens, NY. Growing up in a diverse community, and of multi-ethnic descent, he has a keen sensitivity to the uniqueness of different cultures and energies in the city. After moving back home after college, Nick spent the last several years building art that told his story, illustrating his position on activism, and his own connection to the spaces throughout his life.

Ander Mikalson is an artist working in performance, sound and installation in New York City. She earned an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She has shown her work in Austria, Ecuador, Sweden, and throughout the United States. Recent awards include the Art Matters Foundation grant, the College Art Association Professional-Development Fellowship in the Visual Arts, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Graduate Fellowship and a Mildred’s Lane Sponsored Fellowship.


Culture Shock is generously supported by Goldman Sachs Gives, at the request of R. Martin Chavez and Collin Gage.

High Line Programs are supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Council.

High Line Families is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with New York City Council.

Lead support for High Line Art comes from Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Major support for High Line Art is provided by The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston, and Charina Endowment Fund. High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from New York State Council on the Arts with support from Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council.

Agora is supported, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

TD Bank is the Presenting Green Sponsor of the High Line.