St. Ann’s Warehouse and The Walk Productions with Handspring Puppet Company today announced one of the largest public artworks in the city’s history.
Having been welcomed by the mayors of European capitals, by world-renowned artists, by faith leaders including His Holiness Pope Francis, by humanitarian organizations and grassroots community-based organizations of every scale in 12 countries including most recently Ukraine, Amal has become a globally recognized symbol of human rights, especially those of immigrants, refugees, and other marginalized people.
Now she will be welcomed by NYC in a joyful festival created by the city’s artists, civic leaders, and government agencies – a three-week celebration of our shared humanity.
Playwright/Director Amir Nizar Zuabi, the Artistic Director of Little Amal Walks NYC, said, “For immigrants and refugees around the world, New York is seen as a place of opportunity and promise – but there’s a tension running through US history that suggests not everyone is welcome here. Amal will experience the wonder of New York and also the apprehension of arriving in a strange new place. This is a crucial moment to explore these themes. How will she be welcomed here? Who will do the welcoming?”
New York City’s first “People’s Artist,” Yazmany Arboleda, Creative Producer of Little Amal Walks NYC, said “As a young unaccompanied minor arriving in NYC, Amal is excited and fearful – coming to a city of unmatched diversity built by immigrants from all over the world, hoping to share stories of her journey through Europe and to learn about life here. We’ve worked with some of the city’s most innovative arts organizations and community groups to create moments of welcome for a young refugee as well as opportunities to engage with diverse communities and individuals on their own journeys throughout the city.”
Among the 55 Events of Welcome:
- JFK Airport Little Amal takes tentative first steps in NYC at Terminal 4. She will be given an exceptional welcome by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and its Children’s Chorus under the direction of Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin (September 14).
- Soon after landing, Amal will experience another musical welcome, this time in Jamaica, Queens. Young people from the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning will be her guides as she parades through the neighborhood helping to celebrate the Center’s 50th Anniversary. (September 14).
- She will visit Grand Central Station. Overwhelmed but energized by the scale and the crowds in the streets, she will make her way to the center of Manhattan – Times Square and Central Park. (September 15).
- She will take part in the Big Umbrella Festival at Lincoln Center, a weekend of events for young people with autism and other developmental disabilities and their families (September 17).
- A lonely Sunday evening in Washington Heights, then she encounters the Bachata, Merengue and Salsa dancers of The People’s Festival, The Civic Engagement Commission’s annual celebration of participatory democracy in NYC (September 18).
- In Brooklyn she will attend a concert presented by BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) curated by Syrian-American hip-hop artist and peace activist Omar Offendum (September 19).
- In Corona, Queens Amal joins the Cetiliztli Nauchcampa and other indigenous dancers in a community garden created by the Mujeres en Movimiento in her honor (September 21).
- and then in Queens Museum she will help save a piñata donkey from a getting a beating (September 21).
- In Bay Ridge she will feel almost back home in Aleppo as she gets caught up in a Syrian wedding procession created by community groups gathered by the Arab American Family Support Center (September 23).
- Chased by a vast flock of pigeons, she will cross Brooklyn Bridge, an event created by St. Ann’s Warehouse (September 24).
- She will find herself amongst a Big Animal Escape outside the Bronx Zoo created by the New York puppet community (September 25).
- She will walk with residents of Mott Haven to the community’s waterfront in search of calm and fresh air, led by South Bronx Unite (September 25).
- On Staten Island she will be surrounded by a cloud of butterflies in a special event created by Lina Montoya and Snug Harbor (September 30).
- The climax of Amal’s 3 week journey round NYC will be a special surprise event honoring refugees and immigrants who have made an impact on the life of the city.
Information on all the other events as well as updates will be sent directly to media and will be available to the public at walkwithamal.org, stannswarehouse.org and on her social platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Bloomberg Connects.
Little Amal Walks NYC is a co-production between St. Ann’s Warehouse, Susan Feldman, Artistic Director, and The Walk Productions led by David Lan, Tracey Seaward and Stephen Daldry. Amir Nizar Zuabi isthe project’sArtistic Director, Yazmany Arboleda its Creative Producer, BAM President Emerita Karen Brooks Hopkins its Executive Producer.
Little Amal was designed and created by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company (War Horse).
Amal is inspired by a character in Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson’s play The Jungle, an intense remembrance of the refugee camp in Calais, France. Early next year (February 18 – March 19), St. Ann’s Warehouse and Good Chance Theatre will bring The Jungle back to St. Ann’s Warehouse, where it made its triumphant, sold-out US Premiere in 2018, originally a co-production with the National Theatre and the Young Vic.
The Walk 2021 was a co-production with Good Chance Theatre.
The Walk Productions and St Ann’s Warehouse also announces the return of Little Amal’s Bloomberg Connects free digital guide, which will be re-launched in September to celebrate Little Amal’s arrival in New York City.
Building on Bloomberg’s support for The Walk, users of Bloomberg Connects – the free arts and cultural app powered by Bloomberg Philanthropies – will be able to access more than 20 new audio guides featuring a diverse group of New Yorkers from across all five boroughs sharing their unique take on some of NYC’s best kept secrets and unknown gems, alongside videos and other content.
The New York City audio guides will be produced by F.Y. Eye – a nonprofit media agency dedicated to ensuring that nonprofit voices, along with true and trusted information, makes its way into the public square – and Abigail Montes, an award-winning photographer whose work captures the vibrancy of communities across the South Bronx and beyond.
Major support for Little Amal Walks NYC is provided by Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Bezos Family Foundation Students Rebuild Program, The JKW Foundation, Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust, Ford Foundation, Jerome L. Greene Foundation, Stephanie and Timothy Ingrassia, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and The SHS Foundation, with additional support from Walentas Foundation Ltd, The Scherman Foundation, The IHS Markit Charitable Foundation, Jody and John Arnhold | Arnhold Foundation, Agnes Gund, Leon Levy Foundation, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, Choose Love, Inc, The Jim Henson Foundation, and Maxine Isaacs.