Free photography festival Photoville returns to NYC with 80+ outdoor exhibitions

June 1, 2023

Photo courtesy of Kisha Bari

Starting this weekend, enjoy more than 80 free photography exhibitions across New York City. Returning for its 12th year, Photoville NYC is a two-week festival with outdoor exhibitions displaying diverse photographic works across the five boroughs, as well as workshops, artist talks, and other events. The festival, which will run from June 3 to June 18, will include its signature Photoville Village in Brooklyn Bridge Park, in addition to open-air installations in other parts of the city.

Photo courtesy of Jessica Bal

Originally only held in Brooklyn Bridge Park, the festival expanded in 2020 so more New Yorkers could safely enjoy public art during the height of the pandemic. The park will still act as the festival’s headquarters for this year, offering free open-air exhibitions and Photoville’s signature “shipping container galleries” at the new Emily Warren Roebling Plaza.

Photoville continues to create a welcoming, accepting space for all artists and art lovers, regardless of race, gender, class, sexual identity, nationality, age, or ability. Many of this year’s exhibitions tackle pressing issues like representation, including “Our Black Experience: Stories from Black Women Photographers,” which showcases four Black femme-identifying photographers in the NYC area, and “Autistic Joy,” in which photographer Jen White explores the idea of motherhood as an “act of resistance” and shines a light on children of color in neurodiverse communities.

The country’s criminal justice system and legacy of colonialism are also the subjects of many artists’ work this year. “Another Perspective” compares three generations of photographers and their relationships with the criminal justice system, and Isaiah Winter’s photos of Glacier National Park from “This Land Is Your Land examines the concept of Americanism and how many of the lands considered inherently “American” were stolen from indigenous peoples.

The festival also examines the personal impacts of global conflicts, including Kiana Hayeri and Oriane Zerah’s photo series “Broken Promises: Navigating a World Under Taliban Rule, which offers a glimpse into the everyday lives of Afghan women after the Taliban’s takeover of the country, and “Bearing Witness: Documenting War Crimes in Mariupol, Ukraine, which presents photos captured on the front lines between Russia and Ukraine.

Other exhibitions hit closer to home, like “Clayton Patterson’s Front Door: Residents and Writers” featuring Lower East Side graffiti artists, and Destiny Mata’s “(In)Visible Guides,” which includes photography taken by residents of an LES shelter for domestic violence survivors. Both are being presented by the Abrons Arts Center.

The festival will be hosting an eventful opening weekend on June 3 and 4, with free events with artist tours and appearances, workshops led by Adobe, the International Center of Photography, and Creatively Wild, and food and beverage offerings from Smorgasburg. On Saturday, a large screen underneath the Brooklyn Bridge will project photos from award-winning photography publishers, including National Geographic, TIME Magazine, and many more.

Photoville locations around the city include Brookfield Place in Manhattan, Astoria Park in Queens, South Beach Promenade in Staten Island, and Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, and many others.

More information about this year’s Photoville festival, including its locations around the city, can be found here.


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