What is Ariana’s List?
Part guide, part cultural diary, Ariana’s List started as a listing of free summer cultural events that take place in New York City, written and curated by me, Ariana. I write about issues around culture, my own and others. The List has been a leading source for local cultural recommendations, so that anyone, regardless of financial standing, can participate in arts and culture.
Ariana’s List has evolved into a year-round consultancy, producing cultural events in public spaces in NYC and around the world.
Taking into consideration local contexts of culture in order to bring relevant art to each potential audience, Ariana’s List connects public space with artists, institutions, and communities. Working with a variety of partners including parks, non-profit organizations, governments, universities, and real estate companies, the guiding mission of all Ariana’s List projects is to make arts more accessible to all people.
Past clients have included: Bryant Park, 34th Street Partnership, NYC Department of City Planning + NYC Economic Development Corporation, the U.S. State Department, the United Nations, amongst others. See Ariana’s List Projects for a more comprehensive list.
History of Ariana’s List
The arts are known to settle the mind, no? After feeling creatively-sapped by full-time non-profit arts work and part-time grad school, I started picking out free summer cultural events in New York and inviting my friends to them.
Goal? To see my friends again, enjoy art, and lie on a blanket outside.
Result? Serious hang time and witnessing incredible art. Over time, friends would invite friends, and people began to push me off my blanket. People emailed me saying they wanted “in” on the emails. The “list” was born. Nothing compares to the sultry wonderfulness that is NYC in the summer and the beautiful art we, the public, get to experience together.
I constantly think about access and equity in the arts, and I would hope this comes through in my writing and professional work. I’m very audience-centric and believe the arts should be accessible to all people (hence continuing to list only free events on my blog, where there is almost no barrier for entry.)
This original hobby combined all the things I love: culture, public space, community, and equity. I’m lucky: it’s now work that I love deeply. Programming public spaces in NYC and around the world is the next phase of Ariana’s List.
I’m a very proud, third generation New Yorker. (In other words, don’t mess with me.) I represent three of the five boroughs: I was born-and-raised in Manhattan (Lower East Side represent), my parents are 100% Brooklyn (my dad swore off baseball when the Dodgers left town and my mom’s favorite ride was the now-defunct parachute jump in her native Coney Island), and my dad has been spending summers in Rockaway (Queens) since he was a baby. We Hellermans, love ourselves, some NYC.
I am also the child of an artist. My mom took me to sketch in the Met weekly and created amazing art projects for my friends and me; my birthday parties were always the coolest. She enrolled me in after-school programs in visual arts (drawing, painting, sculpture, photography), music (choruses, piano, harpsichord, upright bass, composition, theory, baroque and chamber ensembles), writing (creative and journalism), drama, and dance (modern and Slavic) lessons. And being an NYC kid, I often had opportunities to go to the New York Philharmonic and the NYC Ballet.
I also grew up with a strong sense of social justice. So it seemed natural to major in art and peace & justice studies. My many years working in arts philanthropy allowed me to think about and witness strategies on how to grow all types of audiences. Access and equity for all!
I think my upbringing and experiences have inspired my interests: I love art, I love culture, I love people, I love social justice, I love community, I love educating, I love learning about the world, I love promoting and growing things I believe in (especially those that may not have had opportunity prior), I love connecting people to one another, and I love NYC. Essentially, Arianas List is the intersection of all things Ariana.