The Kids Guide to ArtsFest

ArtsFest is coming up October 19th to 22nd , and there are plenty of family-friendly events designed to appeal to children all weekend long. Among the child-friendly ArtsFest events:


Thursday through Sunday families can take self-guided walks of public art, from Halloween window paintings created by students in New Rochelle High School ‘s prestigious PAVE arts program (for a list of Halloween Windows and their store locations go  to to ) to the 20  large scale #NRNY Murals (download a map of the murals at ) Completed in 2022 the high impact murals were created by a group of world class street artists curated by Street Art for Mankind and sponsored by the New Rochelle Council on the Arts and the City of New Rochelle’s IDA.

There is also a new gallery space that is literally on the street at The Illustrator (600 North Avenue), an apartment complex with four climate-controlled art displays that can be viewed any time. For ArtsFest the exhibit, curated by Key to the Castle Workshops, will feature works by photographers Nick Carter and Katie O’Neil and artists Marie Hines Cowan and William Papaleo. Works can be seen through January 15, 2024.

THURSDAY, October 19

During ArtsFest children and families have the opportunity to see the new home of Songcatchers (90 Sherman St., NR; ),  the nonprofit organization dedicated to providing affordable access to high quality music education, training and enrichment for kids. On Thursday afternoon from 3:30 to 5:30 pm tour the new Songcatchers space and enjoy a live performance at 5:15 pm. Perfect for prospective students, parents and teachers interested to see/experience how Songcatchers gives lessons. Somgcatchers will also be open to the public on Friday, October 20th from 3:30 to 5:30 pm and Saturday, October 21st from 10:30 am to 1 pm.

FRIDAY, October 20

On Friday night kids of all ages will cheer a thrilling new Halloween attraction right here in New Rochelle as the Hudson Park Children’s Greenhouse presents “Dr. Wildcliff’s Haunted Greenhouse & Mansion“(42 Wildcliff Drive, NR; They’ve created a chilling backstory about Dr. Wildcliff, a demented botanist whose bizarre experiments resulted in a vegetation takeover. Visitors can navigate through a haunted greenhouse, a spooky mansion, and a disorienting corn maze, all while enjoying local hot chocolate and signature pumpkin donuts. This is a ticketed event, with time slots tailored to different age groups, ensuring fun for all. Dr. Wildcliff’s Haunted Greenhouse will be open from 6 to 9:30 pm on Friday and Saturday, and 6 pm to 8:30 pm on Sunday night: Tickets cost $20 for adults, $10 for children at

Older children and teens can immerse themselves in Greek mythology Friday night at New Rochelle High School where the legend of Medea is the focus: At 7 pm NRHS TheaterWorks presents a new play, Medea (Linda Kelly Theater, North Ave. at Braemar Rd.)  This three person “conversation” between Jason and Medea will be followed by a round table discussion between the playwright, Valentina Motta, artist Marie Hines Cowan and Claire E. Scott, author of Murderous Mothers: Late Twentieth Century Medea Figures and Feminism. Then the audience is invited to move upstairs to the Museum of Art & Culture to enjoy a reception for Marie Hines Cowan’s exhibit “Musing, Metamorphosis and Medea”, colorful, large-scale canvases that portray familiar classic myths from a new perspective.

SATURDAY, October 21

ArtsFest was built around the idea of artists opening their studios to the public, and one of the most kid-friendly is Charles Fazzino Art Studio at Museum Editions (32 Relyea Pl., NR; 914-654-9370; ) Once a year (for ArtsFest) world famous pop artist Charles Fazzino – the master of 3-D art — opens his studio to the public, and on Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm families can tour his personal studio, enjoy an exhibit of art by Charles and Heather Fazzino, meet and greet the artists, and experience an interactive art workshop. Fun for all ages and an ArtsFest favorite.

Saturday is jampacked with your choice of other kid-focused activities, starting with a Pumpkin Patch at the Hudson Park Children’s Greenhouse from 11 am to 2 pm, with whimsical fall fun for families. Children can paint pumpkins, navigate a corn maze, and join the scavenger hunt for hidden “bones” in the Greenhouse to construct a skeleton! A small participation fee is required for these activities, but all attendees will be gifted with a goody bag. (54 Wildcliff Rd, Hudson Park, NR; )

During ArtsFest the idea is to celebrate arts everywhere: Downtown at The Hair House (360 Huguenot St., NR; ; children of all ages can experience Street Hairitage from  11 am to 4 pm. Author Zenda Walker (Zara’s Wash Day) will display books and activities for children that celebrate hairstyles of the African Diaspora.  She will also be interviewing attendees for her new YouTube series “Street Hairitage,” which aims to connect with the real-time hair stories of every-day people, highlighting hair as an identifier and tool for self-expression.

If your children enjoy vintage cars don’t miss the free Classic Car Show from 11 am to 4:30 pm (Hamilton Avenue Parking Lot, North Ave. at Hamilton, adjacent to City Hall). This free  ArtsFest event focuses on automotive design with an eye-catching bevy of classic auto beauties spanning the 1920s to the 1970s on exhibit by invitation only. Enjoy rollicking live music by Bear Mountain Brass Band from 12 to 2 pm and view an Automotive Art Show featuring photography by Stephen Garnett across the street at AJ’s Burgers (542 North Ave., NR) This show is dedicated to the memory of Joe Ricci. Rain Date: Sunday, October 22nd .

From 11 am to 5 pm the Fifth Annual Artsfest Artisan Market (on the grounds of Thomas Paine Cottage, 20 Sicard Avenue) will offer over 25 makers selling their creations, along with live music, food trucks and a visit from the ArtsWestchester ArtsMobile, a colorful van custom fit with all kinds of art supplies that will offer free visual arts workshops led by professional teaching artists from 12 pm to 3 pm.

At 11:30 am older kids and teens can join you for a coffee break at Starbucks Wykagyl (1278 North Avenue) where students from New Rochelle High School’s PAVE 4 and TheatreWorks will and present an original spoken word event, A Vente on the Veranda. Students will share a collection of monologues and performance pieces, developed and arranged by students, staged outside to demonstrate that you don’t need a theatre to create great art. (You might never think of your Pumpkin Spice Latte the same way again!)

Downtown at the New Rochelle Public Library, the New Rochelle Artist Association has organized a rock painting workshop, NRAA ROCKS! on the Library Patio, adjacent to Ruby Dee Park: From 12 noon to 3 pm participants will work with artists from the NRAA to “rock out” with their own designs. Nearby at Anderson Plaza the ArtsFest Music Festival takes place from 12 noon to 5 pm, with local bands performing 45-minute sets on the hour. Buy lunch from one of the nearby restaurants and grab a seat on the plaza to listen to an afternoon of free music, starting with a “Songwriter Round” at noon, followed by the bands Bates, Elusive Emu, Mammiferes, and Garry Novikoff with Enid P. and Nirmal.

Alvin & Friends Restaurant  (14 Memorial Highway. NR; 914-654-6549; ) will host a Family Sip & Paint Paint Party from 12 noon to 3 pm, with artist Chermia Amour offering supplies and instruction for all ages. Tickets cost $TK and include a snack for children and glass of wine for adults. Call to reserve your spot in advance.

Back at Thomas Paine Cottage (20 Sicard Avenue) at 2 pm all sorts of family-focused fun is planned: From 2 to 2:45 pm  Shake, Rattle & Roll – named among the “Best of Westchester” – will get toddlers, preschoolers, and grown-ups moving and grooving. From 2 pm to 5 pm Paine Cottage will celebrate Family Fun 1910s Style! On July 14, 1910, the Paine Cottage was opened to the public as the Huguenot House: To complement New Rochelle’s new statue of Ragtime author E.L. Doctorow, Paine Cottage is going back to 1910 with badminton, croquet games, scavenger hunts, and more! Children can also paint pumpkins and enjoy additional crafts and games. There will be small giveaways for all children dressed in period costume. (Entrance and lawn games are free, small donation for arts and crafts.) And from 3 to 5 pm the adjacent Sophia Brewster one-room schoolhouse will host Spooky Skeleton Schoolhouse to celebrate the Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos with award-winning bilingual children’s book author Marisa Boan. Children ages 4 to 10 years will learn about this festive holiday with crafts and literacy activities both inside the schoolhouse and outside.

Down the street at the Huguenot Children’s Library (794 North Ave. at Eastchester Road, NR; 914-632-8954) kids ages 4 and up are invited to Design Your Own Invention from 2 to 4 pm: Children will create their visionary take on inventions using cardboard, crafts and art supplies.

The free ArtsFest Dance Festival will be showcasing astonishing dance performances by professional companies and local schools all weekend at the Whitney Yong Auditorium at New Rochelle High School (265 Clove Rd., NR). On Saturday and Sunday from 3 pm to 5 pm introduce your children to the world of dance and find out more about dance classes available right here in New Rochelle. On Saturday: Accent Dance, Ballet Arts of Westchester, New Beginnings, MorDance, DMI Dance Ministry Institute and Rooftop Rhythms. On Sunday:  Ajkun Ballet Theatre, New Rochelle High School’s PAVE Dance, Hudson Ballet Theatre, Devar Dance Ministry Institute and Coleman School of Dance.

Saturday’s events wind down with a free concert featuring Invented Instruments (5 pm to 8 pm at the Thomas Paine Memorial Building, 983 North Ave., NR; parking on Valley Road). Children and teens will delight in discovering wacky new instruments and meeting their inventors, who will demonstrate their one-of-a-kind creations, including the Gravicord and the Fractal Harp.

SUNDAY, October 22

Adults and teens can get an early start on Sunday at 7:50 am with a NRNY Mural Run (depart and return from parking lot at Hotel NoMa, Trademark Collection by Wyndham, 1 Radisson Plaza, NR; ) New Ro Runners – the local running club that is changing the shape of the community one mile at a time — has organized a “Mural Run” with a route that shows off the 20 NRNY Murals. Run begins and ends at the Hotel NoMa.

From 10 am to 12 noon families are invited to explore We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym (606 Main St., NR ;  914-365-2585; where kids can do an art project with a fall theme, then enjoy a 1/2 hour of free open play.  Parents must sign a liability waiver prior to entering the gym and socks must be worn. For age-appropriate play children ages 1 to 5  will be admitted from10 am to 11 am; children ages 6 to 11 years will be admitted from 11 am to 12 noon.

The ArtsFest trolley will be back again this year offering teens and adults a Historic Trolley Tour celebrating author E.L. Doctorow. From 10 am to 12 noon City Historian Barbara Davis will offer three 30-minute guided tours of some of the local sites made famous in Doctorow’s book “Ragtime.” The route will include architectural highlights of the area and drive-by visits to Doctorow’s former home, the statue of Jacob Leisler mentioned in the book, and the new Doctorow statue. Note: This tour is not appropriate for young children. Seating is limited: Trolley will depart from the New Rochelle High School parking lot at North Avenue and Braemar Road, near the tennis courts.

At 12 noon everyone is invited to be part of the dedication of a new Statue of E.L. Doctorow (Huguenot Park, North Ave. between Eastchester Rd. and Forest Ave.). New Rochelle High School’s choir will perform a song from the musical “Ragtime” as members of the Doctorow family, sculptor Derek Chalfant, and local dignitaries gather with City Historian Barbara Davis and representatives of the New Rochelle Council on the Arts and New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence to celebrate this new public art.

Downtown at the New Rochelle Public Library ( 1 Library Plaza, NR,  914-632-7878, ) the focus will be ono the great Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, with an afternoon of events designed to delight and inspire youngsters. Form 1 pm to 2:30 pm children can

Create a Frida Kahlo Inspired Flower Crown or Boutonniere : Join Marisa Boan, author of the award-winning book Frida: A Bilingual Book in English & Spanish, in the Children’s Room as she guides kids ages 4 to 10 through an easy art project.  Following the workshop, children are encouraged to wear their creations to a free performance of The Colors of Frida / Los Colores De Frida at 3 pm in the Ossie Davis Theater. (All children who attend the workshop will be entered into a raffle to win a special Frida Kahlo prize!) The enchanting bilingual performance from Teatro Sea will use a combination of storytelling, music, visual arts, puppets, and audience participation to recreate important moments in the life of this remarkable artist. Performed in an easy mix of English and Spanish. Ages pre-K and up.

Sunday afternoon brings plenty of outdoor options for families with Art in the Garden from 1 pm to 4 pm at three different locations.  At 30 Oakdale Avenue, Art in the Garden: Inspired by Nature will feature a selection of works by members of the New Rochelle Art Association set in a private garden with an emphasis on native plants and a rain garden which helps manage storm drainage. Artists will be present to discuss their work. This is a collaboration between Healthy Yards New Rochelle and the NRAA.

Art in the Acres: Create Art Inspired by Nature will take place at the Ward Acres Community Garden (300 Broadfield Rd., NR across from Ward Elementary School) Design your own collages, flower arrangements, watercolors and painted rocks with garden themes and enjoy live music as the Co-Op Choir performs new works at 3 PM.

And Art in the Garden: Paper, Clay & Canvas at the grow! Lincoln Park Community Garden (Lincoln Ave., between Prince and Memorial Highway, across from 95 Lincoln Ave.) will offer a family-friendly afternoon of Art and Garden Tours including their Native Plant & Butterfly Garden.  Visit with Westchester Land Trust’s Pollinator Pop-Up — an interactive mobile exhibit  for children offering hands-on activities and an opportunity to learn  about bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators – and meet artists who work in various media including mono-printing, echo- print jewelry, porcelain vessels , nature inspired digital prints and accessories and abstract fine art. A collaboration between The Lincoln Park Conservancy, Inc and New Rochelle Healthy Yards.

As the weekend winds down teens and young adults may want to enjoy some provocative live theater:  “Monsterlogues” by All Hands Theatre Company (Jolo’s Vegan Food Bar and Lounge, 49 Lawton St., NR; ) “Monsterlogues: There Are Two Sides to Every Horror Story” is a series of monologues from the perspective of literary villains. Appropriate for adults and young adults (contains foul language).

Organized by the non-profit New Rochelle Council on the Arts (NRCA) ArtsFest spotlights the diversity of arts and artists in our community: This year ArtsFest will feature 40 participating venues, representing the work of hundreds of artists. For a complete calendar of events visit

Sponsors for this year’s ArtsFest include ArtsWestchester, The City of New Rochelle IDA, EXRNY, The Appleyard Foundation, Charles Fazzino, BRP, Alvin & Friends, RXR, Town House Restaurant, New Rochelle Downtown BID, Francella Properties, an anonymous donor, and in-kind donors AJ’s Burgers and the New Rochelle Public Library.

The New Rochelle Council on the Arts is proud to be a grantee of ArtsWestchester with funding made possible by Westchester County government with the support of County Executive George Latimer.

About New Rochelle Council on the Arts

The New Rochelle Council on the Arts mission is to stimulate and encourage the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts and the public\’s interest and participation therein. It has been exemplified by our sponsorship of a vast number of exhibitions, theatrical productions, dance recitals, film screenings, lectures, and concert series. To create opportunities for the public to encounter and explore art and increase access to the arts in New Rochelle.

NRCA has been in existence for nearly 40 years — it was created by a resolution adopted by the New Rochelle City Council on April 8, 1975. Our mission is to stimulate and encourage the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts and the public’s interest and participation therein. This is exemplified by our sponsorship of a vast number of exhibitions, theatrical productions, dance recitals, film screenings, lectures, and concert series.