Special Project – Live At The Archway!

It’s that time of year where we want to feature each of our Special Projects so that you, the Make Music New York community, can have a better understanding of the many great ways to enjoy Make Music New York on Thursday, June 21st (mark your calendar!). Look for regular blog posts outlining events across neighborhoods and boroughs, featuring amazing and engaging musicians from the New York area.

Make Music New York’s Executive Director, James Burke, is back! This week he spoke with ​Clara Schuhmacher from the DUMBO Improvement District about partnering on a special project for the popular “Live At The Archway” series​.


James Burke: Hi Clara, thanks for joining me!  Make Music New York has a long history of activating special projects in the DUMBO neighborhood in partnership with the DUMBO Improvement District. Perhaps you could share how the relationship began?

Clara: We’re always down to do crazy and amazing things in Dumbo, and especially in the Archway, which is an epic public space in an epic city (no, we’re not biased or anything). So when an interesting project comes our way, we’re game – and MMNY always has interesting projects!

We were first connected to MMNY in 2011, when Nick Franglen proposed playing a 24-hour-duet with the Manhattan Bridge and its cyclists (he played Theremin). Two years later, MMNY helped us turn the Archway into a giant string instrument, for the premiere of a piece by Eli Keszler featuring So Percussion. Those two projects have lived on as office legends, but there have been many other wonderful projects, both in summer and in winter.

It’s been great fun working together from the Dumbo perspective. And of course my personal connection to MMNY runs deep. My brother was one of the original volunteers, and I got looped in organizing Bushwick when I first moved to Brooklyn. Fast forward to 2013, when I joined the organization as Director of Operations for three festivals. And now here we are, continuing to work together to make magic happen in public spaces. I love how New York works this way.


JB: Live At The Archway provides such a cool vibe for the community to enjoy live music. What is your philosophy in curating the space and celebrating the community?

Clara: Thanks James, appreciate the kind words! One of my favorite things about my job is that I get to spend most of my days out and about, chatting one-on-one with retailers, business owners, artists, residents – everyone who touches the neighborhood in some way. It’s the best way to get direct insight and feedback into what the neighborhood needs and desires. A lot of my curation comes down to gut. I know this place, it’s my place now too, and I trust my instincts on what works and what doesn’t work.

What’s fun – but also challenging – about curating Live at the Archway is the diversity of the audience: all ages, all kinds of relationship to the neighborhood and myriad musical tastes. It’s always a balance, thinking through acts who will offer something to such an audience. Of course, I can’t appeal to everyone every week, which is why the season is so eclectic–my core audience comes back week after week, and they know that if they’re not super into an act one week, chances are the next week will be their favorite. And then there’s the practical side: the Archway is massive, and acoustics challenging. I’m looking for acts who will sound beautiful in the space, and who are dynamic performers, have that extra bit of stage flair, and can hold the “room.”

What really makes #LiveAtTheArchway a celebration of community, however, is that it’s not just a concert series. It’s music, it’s visual art, it’s spectacle, it’s tech. We build a pop-up gallery on site every week, show the work of a different DUMBO artist inside, and lead the audience in a community art project on the outside. We feature a different creative company from the neighborhood weekly as well, and invite them to bring their work out into the public, test it, show it off. And of course, we program a lot of DUMBO musicians too.


JB: We’re excited to be partnering with you to present Natalia Clavier as part of our June 21st music celebrations. How would you describe her music to Make Music fans? What can Make Music New York expect of the show?

Clara: The question all musicians dread! I’m not sure if Natalia would agree, but to me her music feels very tango electronica, without being tango. (Full disclosure: I’m Argentine and love this kind of stuff.) It’s got great beats, it’s a little hip hop, it’s a little jazz, she sings in Spanish and in English. Really: it’s all chill, summery vibes – perfect for sitting in the Archway with a drink on the longest day of summer! Bring a picnic, get a drink from our Archway bar, and enjoy. Show is early, 6:15pm. And if Argentina wins their World Cup that day, get ready for some cheering too! 😉


Make Music New York Presents Mass Appeal Concerts!

For the thirteenth consecutive year, Make Music New York is proud to announce the return of our signature concert series Mass Appeal. Mass Appeal concerts embody the essence of what Make Music New York is about – they gather musicians of all skill levels with an interest in a particular instrument to premier locations across the city to perform together.

Anyone can perform, from polished professionals to the amateur and curious – just grab your instrument and get playing! From the rusty harmonica player to the professional cellist, all are welcome to join these epic events, all taking place outdoors on June 21st.


Mass Appeal Concerts are in the works featuring:


  • Guitars
  • Bucket Drumming
  • French Horns
  • Harmonicas
  • Mandolins
  • Recorders
  • Ukuleles
  • And many more!

We’re still looking for Project Managers for many of these concerts! If you would like to run a Mass Appeal Concert for a particular instrument, email us at info@makemusicny.org with “Mass Appeal” in the subject line.

Most importantly, if you have a new idea for a Mass Appeal Concert that you don’t see on this list, reach out to us as well! We always welcome new concert ideas and want to turn your dream into a reality.

Alternatively, if you are looking to perform at a Mass Appeal, be sure to check out our previous post detailing how to sign up as an artist. And, as always, if you have any questions, let us know by sending an email to info@makemusicny.org

Look out for more information on Mass Appeal Concerts in the future, and stay tuned to this blog as we’ll be giving you updates about host venues, special projects, performers, and everything else related to Make Music New York 2019.

Get Excited For Make Music New York 2019!

Though the weather hasn’t quite warmed up yet, days are getting longer and spring is just around the corner. What does this mean?

It’s time to start thinking about Make Music New York 2019!

As you may or may not know, Make Music New York is the largest single-day festival in New York City. Every year, over 5,000 musicians perform 1,000+ concerts at over 400 unique venues. We strive to celebrate the musician in all of us, connect New Yorkers to their communities and with each other, bring bold new artistic creations to life, unite diverse communities in a spirit of celebration, and energize the shared social spaces that make NYC a cultural capital.

The Make Music New York team is kicking it into high gear securing permits, developing special projects, and planning logistics for the big day (June 21st, mark your calendars!). But, while we do our job, you have an even more important role in making this year’s festival a success – signing up as a venue, a performer, or both!

It’s the artists and venues throughout the city that bring people together to celebrate music and community. You guys are the ones who inspire, and who make this wonderful day possible.

And so, now begins our push to sign up as many venues and artists as possible!

Playing piano for the Make Music NY Festival

For Venues

There are all sorts of ways to host a performance for Make Music New York. Whether you are an individual with an inspired idea for a show you’d like to see, a community organization looking to engage and energize your neighborhood, or a business looking to host, you are the foundation of Make Music New York.

To sign up as a host venue, go to our website (LINKED HERE) and click on “summer registration.” You will be guided through the process from there! Once you have registered, you can either search out artists in our system that you want to perform at your venue, or you can relax and let artists come to you with requests to perform.

Either way, once you have registered, let us handle licenses, insurance, and permits so that you can focus your efforts on giving back to your community through amazing music.

Fans getting excited at Make Music NY

For Artists

Artists provide the magic for Make Music New York. They connect with communities and neighborhoods on an individual and personal level, and are what make this festival special. Our dream is to have as many people perform as possible – anyone, regardless of skill level, genre, age, or demographic is welcomed to do so.

To sign up as a performer, go to our website (LINKED HERE) and click on “summer registration.” Similarly to registering as a venue, you will be guided through the process from there. Once registered, look around for venues at which you’d love to perform! We’ll have all sorts of venues, whether you are looking for a park, something in your neighborhood, or a place to support your style of music.

The more venues and performers that sign up, the more successful the festival will be – we’ll be able to engage more communities, more neighborhoods, and more people through the beauty of music.

So, even if you don’t have a place to host or don’t want to perform yourself, tell your friends! Let them know about us – Make Music New York is a great opportunity to grow a fan base as an artist, or to reach more people and grow awareness of a venue. At the end of the day, it’s the people of New York City make this festival possible, and its their (and our!) music we celebrate.

Lastly, are you interested in our special programs for this year? Stay tuned, because we’ll begin posting previews for select events in the next few weeks. We’re going to have some really great programs this year – if you haven’t already, subscribe to our email newsletter and follow us on social media for updates on all things Make Music New York!