For fifty consecutive summers, world-class artists and performers, Western New Yorkers, and visitors from across the globe have come together on the edge of Niagara Gorge to shape unforgettable encounters. These experiences could only happen at Artpark - a natural and cultural treasure unlike any other.

Artpark Administration

Artpark Box Office

[email protected]


Established in 1974 as a collaboration between New York State Parks and the nonprofit Artpark & Company, Artpark welcomes artists to enjoy and be inspired by the dramatic scenery and rich history of the Niagara River Gorge, and welcomes visitors and locals to enjoy the art and experiences created on its 150 acres. Over the decades, Artpark has hosted tens of thousands of groundbreaking visual artists, cutting-edge theater, dance and cirque arts performers, beloved bands and musicians representing a multitude of genres, festivals featuring local, national and international artists, poets and writers, and more, earning a worldwide reputation as a special place for people of all ages and walks of life to make and experience art. This living cultural legacy weaves into the area’s history and present-day significance to Western New York’s Indigenous population and the Niagara River and Gorge’s extraordinary natural beauty, accessible to visitors through forested trails, sculpture gardens, and outdoor recreation areas. Artpark is all this and more. Come experience it for yourself.

living cultural legacy

Shaping Artpark - a Public and Nonprofit Partnership

The Earl W. Brydges Artpark in Lewiston, New York was established in 1974 and funded initially through the Natural Heritage Trust as a place for the people of the State of New York to enjoy live theatrical performances, musical concerts, dance, and the creation of visual, performance, and other experimental art in a scenic, accessible, and family-oriented setting. Named after the longtime New York State Senator Earl W. Brydges, who represented Niagara County from 1949-1972, Artpark’s 150 acres reclaimed a site left from the creation of state-funded hydroelectric power projects along the Niagara River.

The Niagara Frontier Performing Arts Center—renamed Artpark & Company in 1976—is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit created for the sole purpose of providing programming, operational, and financial support to the Earl W. Brydges Artpark State Park. Since 1997, Artpark & Company has operated and continues to manage Artpark through a long-term collaborative agreement with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The unique natural and cultural site known as “Artpark” opened in 1974 as an unprecedented experiment in artist-public interaction and site-specificity, balancing a populist mission of public access with a bold commitment to commission some of the most avant-garde, investigational art of the day. This legacy continues. For fifty summers, this groundbreaking public-nonprofit partnership has preserved a space where art, history, nature, and diverse contemporary communities come together for experiences that couldn’t happen anywhere else.

Since 1997, Artpark & Company has raised and earned over $80,000,000 for cultural programming and attracted millions of visitors. Click here to see our 2023 Community Impact Report.


Indigenous History

Artpark, positioned at the birthplace of Niagara Falls, is situated on land of cultural, historical, and spiritual significance to multiple Indigenous peoples and nations. The site is home to a burial ground of the Hopewell people of the Ohio River Valley, in continuous use for the last 2,000 years, and contains one burial mound dated to approximately A.D. 160. Niagara Falls and the Niagara River Gorge also have longstanding cultural significance to the Haudenosaunee people who live in Western New York.

In addition to the land’s use for traditional purposes, Artpark has long fostered cultural and artistic collaboration with Indigenous peoples, including through the annual Artpark Strawberry Moon Festival and the Native American Peace Garden. Under the leadership of Artpark Indigenous Arts Producer Michelle-Elise Burnett, Artpark continues to build connections and expand programming to reconnect with the site’s Indigenous history and share access and stewardship with these original communities.

Visual and Experimental Art

With generous state funding and a broad mandate to sponsor and facilitate the creation of avant-garde art in a space accessible to the public, Artpark began with an explosive engagement with some of the most ambitious and radical art of its day. Given the aleatory and experimental spirit of the times, Artpark’s ambitious commitment to work with a vast number of artists, and perhaps the subtle suggestion of destruction, creation, and change in the site’s unique natural setting, early Artpark projects and commissions embraced “permanent impermanence” and placed no emphasis on preservation: at the end of the season, art created here was either destroyed, left to decay naturally, or removed as the property of the artist, with a few exceptions of earlier period works that remain today.

Over its first decade (1974-1984) Artpark commissioned hundreds of artists and collectives to realize new work during the summer months. This earned Artpark a permanent, celebrated spot in the history of twentieth-century art. Whole schools of art are now associated with experiments that happened here, above the Niagara Gorge. 

Artpark was the site of Adam Sonfist’s “Pool of Virgin Earth,” a 25-foot-diameter (7.6 m) clay basin for catching aerial seeds. The collective Ant Farm famously buried an Oldsmobile time capsule under a mound of earth that eventually became part of Artpark’s Amphitheater. It continued to be an important laboratory for outdoor sculpture, with over 200 artists and collectives creating art and installations between 1974 and 1984, including works by Charles Simonds, Dale Chihuly, Dennis Oppenheim, Michelle Stuart, Alice Adams and Agnes Denes, and Nancy Holt, among others.

With cuts to state arts funding in the early 1990s, the residency program ended, leading to a shift toward outdoor music concerts and summer musical theater from 2000-2015.

Beginning in 2015 with the arrival of Sonia Clark as President, Artpark recommitted to the visual arts, undertaking ambitious projects ranging from “Bower” by Ellen Dricoll and Joyce Hwang, curated by Mary Miss and her City as Living Laboratory (1996), the percussion garden featuring collaborations by installation artists and percussionists like David Cossin (Bang on a Can) and Glen Kotche (Wilco), or Cyro Baptista, and William Close (Earth Harp Collective), the massive and collaborative “The Solo Roths Waltz Across the Red Hot Colossus Lot” (through Artpark Bridges) in 2020 to the recreation/reinstallation of Gene Davis’s “Niagara 1979” in the spring of 2017, and “Murmuration” by architectural studio SO-IL (2021), along with numerous “Art in the Park” installations that are free and accessible to all visitors, dawn to dusk daily.

Laurie Anderson


Mary Miss
Suzanne Harris


Richard Miles
Ant Farm
Helene Valentin

Images from “ARTPARK 1974-1984” published by University at Buffalo Art Galleries, Princeton Architectural Press

Live performing arts

The performing arts have been a part of Artpark’s identity from the very beginning. Opera, now under artistic direction of Gil Rose, drama, musical theater, ballet, modern dance, cirque, and more have captivated Artpark audiences for five decades: France's Plasticiens Volants, Art Move Concept and Galmae, Spain’s Fura dels Baus, Brasil’s Bale de Rua, Ukraine’s DakhaBrakha, Argentina’s JP Jofre, So Percussion, Third Coast Percussion, Cirque Barcode with Acting for Climate Change Montreal, Jon Lehrer Dance, among many in the more recent years.  Alvin Ailey,  Baryshnikov, Bolshoi Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Joffrey Ballet, , New York City Opera, New York Philharmonic, Paul Taylor Dance, Twyla Tharp, Pilobolus, Martha Graham, David Brubeck,  Ella Fitzgerald, Ethel Merman, Gladys Knight, Itzhak Perlman, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Van Cliburn, New York Philharmonic, and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and many others have also performed at the Artpark Mainstage Theater.

When Artpark opened in 1974, the stage of the main theater was among the largest in the entire State of New York and by far the best equipped in Western New York to produce fully-staged theatrical productions. As early as 1975, the first full year of operation, musical theater began to play a prominent role at Artpark with the production of Man of La Mancha. Over 10,000 people attended the five performances of this musical and the glorious history of musicals at Artpark was off and running. Over the next 40 years, Artpark produced and presented 104 musicals at its Mainstage Theater before audiences ranging from 10,000 to 40,000. Over 2.5 million visitors have attended musical theater performances at Artpark. While Artpark has discontinued the presentation of more traditional staged musicals due to shifts in the regional entertainment landscape, it has continued to produce and premiere ambitious theatrical works..

Drama played a critical role, too: Joseph Papp, famed director of Shakespeare in Central Park and founder of The Public Theater in Lower Manhattan, brought his revival of Shakespeare’s Hamlet here in 1976. 

The conductor Christopher Keen left his mark on Artpark early on, serving as its first Music Director in 1974, and later serving as Executive Director from 1981-82, when he departed to become Music Director at the New York City Opera Company. Keen instilled a commitment to opera that lasts to this day, building a substantial opera program in partnership with the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra and Brooklyn Academy of Music featuring the North American premiere of Philip Glass’ “Satiagraha” in 1981 to the famed four-year staging of Wagner’s “Ring Cycle” in 1984-88 This commitment lives on in contemporary performances like the 2023’s spectacular production of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, by the Barcelona theatrical group La Fura Dels Baus featuring Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus conducted by Gil Rose.

Since the arrival of Sonia Clark as President in 2015, Artpark has reconnected with these roots in opera and performance, with an ambitious program to reimagine the relationship of live arts experience with Artpark’s unique environment above the Niagara Gorge. This has included performances like The Odyssey by Todd Almond and Lear Debessonet, a massive undertaking involving more than 200 performers, from Broadway stars to local students and volunteers giving rise to now thriving program Artpark Bridges empowering and healing the numerous underserved groups and communities (Empower, People Inc., Buffalo Adult Education/ESL programs for refugees and the Buffalo Parkinson’s Foundation) under the leadership of Cynthia Pegado

Street theater, global programming and outdoor celebrations have been the focus of Sonia Clark’s artistic leadership, having brought numerous North American premieres to Artpark by international institutions like France’s Plasticiens Volants, Art Move Concept, and Cirque Inextremiste, Brazil’s Baile de Rua, and Spain’s La Fura dels Baus, often featured in the setting of outdoor interdisciplinary festivals like the Fairy House Festival and Strawberry Moon Festival.

Cutting-edge, experimental, and avant-garde musical performance continues to be a priority at Artpark, in a tradition that reaches back to Laurie Anderson’s performance of “Stereo Decoy,” a “duet” for piano and violin placed on opposite sides of the river dividing Canada from the U.S., that involved walkie-talkies, a bullhorn, and the natural acoustics of the gorge. This tradition continues with the New Music in the Park series, an eclectic snapshot of music performance, and collaboration happening now. What began as a quaint local chamber music series, now regularly features performances from groups including Alarm Will Sound, So Percussion, JP Jofre, Third Coast Percussion, or DakhaBrakha, with local composer collectives like Null Point or the Buffalo Jazz Composers Workshop. These occur in the informal settings of the outdoor Emerald Grove or Mainstage Theater Terrace, along the Gorge trail, and at other sites amid Artpark’s 150 acres, using the natural setting to provide for a playful experience, reimagine and challenge the relationship between performance and venue and between players and audience.

This reimagining of the relationship between art and audience proved critical to Artpark’s survival during the COVID-19 pandemic. While theater and performance venues across the country shuttered for a year or more, Artpark, as an outdoor venue with 150 acres of available space, doubled down on experimental performance and invited audiences to return and experience art in unconventional—and safe—settings. This period included outdoor, distanced “chamber” performances of John Luther Adams’ “One Thousand Birds” on the Mainstage Theater Terrace by Alarm Will Sound, or the “Art of Walking” - a promenade theater piece created to accommodate the social distancing, created in an international collaboration of Spain’s Itsaso Irribaren and German de la Riva with New York-based writer and director Carin Jean White; a number of creative residencies by Taylor Mac and the Holladay Brothers, the latter resulting in a innovative site-activated sonic experience designed by the Holladay Brothers and SoZo Artists with original sound tracks and stories provided by Rhyannon Giddens and Yo-Yo Ma, DJ Spooky, Kronos Quartet and local indigenous artists recorded by Michele-Elise Burnette. These digital walks delivered by a free app fused the natural and digital into a new way to experience the healing and sustaining nature. Further embracing the pandemic period’s need for adaptation, Artpark even converted several parking lots into temporary drive-in movie spaces, offering opportunities for all ages to safely gather and enjoy popular films. (Click here to download Artpark 2020: A Journal, for a firsthand account of Artpark during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Artpark 2021: A Journal, documenting Artpark's programming during the second year of the pandemic.)

And, of course, Artpark has played host to some of the most widely beloved bands and musicians of the past half century. Following the steep cuts to state funding, Artpark came close to a full stop in 1996. A new agreement between Artpark & Company and New York State Parks in 1997, combined with a reorientation toward the touring music industry, brought Artpark back from the brink. George Osborne filled a vacancy as its Executive Director and later President, inheriting mounting debts and an all-time low budget of $500,000. Within the space of a few seasons, he reimagined Artpark as a venue for beloved touring acts, and made a household name out of “Tuesdays in the Park,” a weekly summer music series that ran from 1999 to 2019. While Artpark has evolved again to reconnect with visual art and avant-garde performance, and expanded into entirely new areas, a commitment to the touring music industry that helped to save the institution remains. Some of the leading artists in the nation have performed at Artpark on both our stages – the outdoor Amphitheater (9,999 capacity) and indoor Mainstage Theater (4,000 capacity), including: Ringo Starr, Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, Sting, Aretha Franklin, Hall & Oates, Billy Idol, Steven Tyler, Boy George & Culture Club, B-52s, Blondie, Melissa Etheridge, Chicago, Chick Corea, Flaming Lips, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Jack White, Goo Goo Dolls, Joan Baez, Jeff Beck, Doobie Brothers, Chris Isaak, ZZ Top, Deep Purple, Glass Animals, Herbie Hancock, Pixes, Tori Amos, Wilco, Alabama Shakes, Garbage, Arctic Monkeys, Goose, Trombone Shorty, Young the Giant, Lizzo, The Flaming Lips, among numerous others.


Artpark’s stages and facilities are available to rent for anything from performances to graduation ceremonies to conferences. Click here for more information.


World-class arts and entertainment made accessible to all.

Artpark artists empower the community with creative tools and collaborative engagement. 

Artists in residence investigate and challenge complex issues of sustainability, and make them tangible through public art.

Artistic legacy is bridged with progressive future in the arts, culture and technologies.



Artpark & Company fosters a transformative world of artistic engagement that explores the human experience, cultivates creativity, and encourages curiosity. Our work is informed by a long tradition of discovery, an expectation of artistic excellence, and an awareness of the inspiration of singular natural splendor.

Located at the birthplace of Niagara Falls, and situated on traditional indigenous lands of many nations, Artpark & Company honors the historic legacy on which it was created, supporting the evolution of the arts and its role as a cultural leader, aspiring to a progressive future. We embrace a philosophy that Art, Culture, and Nature can harmoniously coexist and inspire. We advocate for every art, both known and not yet known, as created in public by diverse artists, often with assistance from their audience, attracted by the discovery, learning, and exploration that the arts encourage.

Each new visit to Artpark brings excitement, curiosity, and renewed perspectives.


We are an international destination for live and visual arts embracing the relationship of Art, Nature, and Culture to create experiences of discovery and awe.


Creative Excellence – We provide experiential programming that reflects the passion and imagination of both our artists and team, having unique and enduring impacts on our visitors and audiences.

Community – We are a core contributor to the cultural and economic well-being of our region. As a gathering place with many offerings, we are committed to building a sense of community responding to all ages and demographics.

Stewardship - We acknowledge and respect the land on which we operate, situated on the traditional indigenous lands of many nations over millennia and specifically the Haudenosaunee who live in WNY. We are committed to working with Indigenous peoples to create sustainable land-based programming and working in harmony and balance with the Natural World.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - We manifest the highest standards and maintain the ethical standards of public benefit. We are committed to maintaining full access to programs of original and creative excellence, facilities, and grounds, ensuring both the principles and advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion, for our team members, volunteers, and artists.

Respect – We value all perspectives and opinions of our team, our partners at New York State, and our communities. We listen, lead, and respond together.

Constant Transformation - Our facilities and programming continuously reflect a diverse and ever-evolving group of performers, acts, artists as social issues of our time and of interest to our audiences change. We believe that art does not need to be permanent to be transformative.


The Artpark & Company Board of Directors is a volunteer assemblage comprised of community leaders, tourism officials and other esteemed Western New York businesspeople. These individuals are imperative in Artpark's planning process, budget development, sponsorship obtainment and event organization.


2023-2024 Board of Directors

Joanne Bauer - Chairperson
Christopher Leardini - Vice Chair
Stephen Turner - Treasurer

Vincent Agnello - Secretary

Allison Appoloney
Dena Armstrong
Jamie Bannister
Anthony Bannon
Don Boswell
Jason Brydges
John Camp
Joseph Certo
Jonathan A. Dandes
Francine DelMonte
Michael J. Dowd, Esq.
Lyn Dyster
Michael Hickey
Christopher E. Kay
Omar Khan
Michael McInerney
Mark Mistretta
Daniel Montante
Marcy Newman
Edward Perlman, Esq.
Pamela Priest
Duncan Smith
Michael Vitch
Jeffrey Williams
Max Willig

Advisory Council
Steve Broderick
Daniel E. Cantara III
Terry Collesano
Thomas J. Fatta
Brian Geary 
Seymour H. Knox IV
Alison Lytle
Angelo J. Morinello
Hon. Robert G. Ortt
Sophia Slaysman
Richard Soluri
Anne Welch
Rebecca Wydysh


Artpark Administration line: 716-754-9000

Dave Wedekindt, Interim President

Ext. 146, [email protected]

Click here to meet the rest of our team


Event-related (audience) spending by the 125,000 partons who attended Artpark's 2022 programming generated an economic impact of  $9.7 million dollars.

The above economic impact results in the support of 271 full time equivalent jobs.

Artpark generates over $640,197 in revenues annually for local government.

Artpark generates over $773,544 in revenues annually for state government.

Artpark spends over $5.6 million in the local and regional area (community) for services, equipment, supplies and advertising.

* Data from Americans for the Arts 'Arts & Economic Prosperity IV': The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Industry (Calculator).