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Governors Island Arts Launches First-Ever House Fest for Families to Enjoy

Governors Island Arts Launches First-Ever House Fest for Families to Enjoy

The three-day festival will celebrate the range of works presented by the seasonal arts, cultural, educational and environmental Organizations in Residence on Governors Island

Ready for an exciting cultural experience this summer? If so, head to Governors Island's House Fest! The three-day festival will give you a smorgasbord of free performances, entertainment and more from New York City's art, culture and science scene—all in one location!

House Fest, presented by the Trust for Governors Island, will run Friday, Aug. 5, to Sunday, Aug. 7, in the historic Nolan Park and Colonels Row areas on the island. Hold on to your hats, because there's something for everyone throughout the weekend-long creative celebration, including dance and music performances, outdoor installations, interactive workshops, open studios, panel discussions and more. 

“Through Governors Island Arts, we are thrilled to bring together a unique group of organizations that fully embodies the diverse cultural community here in New York City,” Clare Newman, president and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island, said. “The singular environment of Governors Island fosters a cultural experience like no other, and I encourage all New Yorkers to come out and celebrate with Governors Island Arts at House Fest this August.”

House fest celebrates the Organizations in Residence program, a one-stop-shop of art and culture for families to enjoy on Governors Island. 

“Each year, the Organizations in Residence activate Nolan Park and Colonels Row with evocative arts experiences, and we are so excited to celebrate this cultural community with the inaugural House Fest,” Juan Pablo Siles, associate curator and producer at the Trust for Governors Island, said. “Governors Island Arts is privileged to have such a dedicated group of organizations here on the Island collaborating to help bring transformative, accessible programming to Island visitors and all New Yorkers.”

What to Expect at House Fest on Governors Island

Here's what families can enjoy during House Fest on Governors Island:

Portal House

Presented by 4heads

On view Aug. 5-7

Colonels Row Building 408A

Celebrating 15 years on the island, 4heads presents an intensive summer-long residency, featuring eight emerging and mid-career women artists. Inspired by the historic, formerly domestic spaces on Governors Island, each artist was challenged to create immersive, site-specific environments that transform individual rooms as well as connective indoor and outdoor spaces.

The Carpet Series, Pigeonwing Dance

Friday, Aug. 5, at 5pm and Saturday, Aug. 6, at 2pm

Colonels Row, Governors Island

A pop-up performance that will take place on and around a 5x8 Persian carpet.

Emotional Baggage Cart in progress

Presented by ArtCrawl Harlem

Saturday, Aug. 6, at 11am

Colonels Row Building 406B

Spend time with Theda Sandiford’s Emotional Baggage Carts. In this installation, the carts represent vessels for unresolved emotional baggage related to racial trauma. Each recovered shopping cart is woven with fabric, paracord, yarn, tulle, ribbon, fishing nets, pom poms, pony beads, zip ties, LED lights and more.

WRITE NYC: Street Lab

Saturday, Aug. 6, at 12pm

Nolan Park, Governors Island

Street Lab’s public writing room comes to Governors Island for one day only. The porch of Nolan Park Building 6 will be stocked with supplies, typewriters, and other tools and materials for writing on the fly.

Dance Party NYC

Saturday, Aug. 6, at 3pm

Nolan Park, Governors Island

Part of The New York Public Library’s summer program, Dance Party NYC is a citywide festival that will take place at more than 80 venues across the city–including in Nolan Park on Governors Island, with performances from Brooklyn United Marching Band and Brass Queens, tunes from DJ Aguapanela Mami and DJ Yung Mayne, food trucks, and a beer garden from Threes Brewing.

Triangle Arts Open Studios

Saturday, Aug. 6, at 5pm

Colonels Row Building 405A

An event featuring in progress from Triangle Arts artists in residence, including pieces by Slinko, Malado Francine, Sally Lelong, Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow, Ariel Kleinberg, and Eric Ramos Guerrero.

Porch Life, Urban Bush Women

Presented by MoCADA

Saturday, Aug. 6, at 6pm

Nolan Park Building 7A, Governors Island

A work-in-progress section of Haint Blu, an ensemble dance-theater work from Urban Bush Women. Known as the color that Southern families paint their front porches to ward off bad spirits, Haint Blu uses performance as a center and source of healing. 

APOCALITZIN, dance to the people

Saturday, Aug.6, at 7pm and Sunday, Aug. 7, at 2pm

Colonels Row, Governors Island

A dance theater piece set in a landscape of environmental crisis following the adventures of its eponymous heroine, a futuristic hybrid of human and plastic, descended from the Mexica (M?xihcah) people. 

Electropixel 12 – Nature and Cities

Presented by Harvestworks

Saturday, Aug.6, at 7pm

Nolan Park Building 10A, Governors Island

An outdoor performance of sound art and live cinema that includes the sounds of nature and listening in different cities around the globe. Featuring performances by Ben Owen, Solar Return, Jenny Pickett, Julien Ottavi and the Horspiel Machine.

Changemaker Station

Presented by The Climate Museum

Sunday, Aug. 7, 2:30-4:30pm

Nolan Park Building 18, Governors Island

An interactive hub for civic climate action, where visitors can learn how to raise their voices and take tangible actions in their communities.

With the Sea: Climate Art, Science, and Human Connections to Sea Level Rise

Presented by The Climate Museum in partnership with NYU Gallatin WetLab

Sunday, Aug. 7, 1pm

LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island

A panel discussion and live Q&A that will explore sea level rise, people’s embodied relationship with water, climate justic and advocacy in NYC. Moderated by Anais Reyes, senior exhibitions associate at the Climate Museum.

Silver Fleece, William Hooker

Presented by Harvestworks 

Sunday, Aug. 7, 3pm

Nolan Park Building 10A, Governors Island

A suite for the outdoors in six parts. Featuring William Hooker, drums/composer, On Kaa Davis, guitar, Hans Tammen, guitar, Jair Rohm Wells, bass, David Soldier, violin, and Kevin Ramsey, electronics.

VITRUVIAN (excerpts), Jerron Herman

Sunday, Aug. 7, at 4:30pm

Nolan Park, Governors Island

A solo performance from Jerron Herman. 

What You Need to Know About Attending House Fest at Governors Island 

Where is Governors Island located? 

Governors Island is considered part of Manhattan and located in New York Harbor. 

How do I get to Governors Island?

Get to the island by taking the ferry from Manhattan at 10 South St. Boats run daily. A round trip ferry ticket is $4 for adults and free for seniors and children younger than 12. Check out the ferry schedule at

When is House Fest?

House Fest is Friday, Aug. 5-Sunday, Aug. 7. Times vary per activity. 

How much is admission?

Admission to House Fest is free.

For more information, visit or follow Governors Island on Facebook or Instagram

Main image: The Trust for Governors Island/Julienne Schaer

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Barbara Russo

Author: Barbara Russo is a freelance writer who holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the City University of New York. She enjoys playing guitar, following current events, and hanging out with her pet rabbits. See More

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