Tue-Sun, 10am-6pm; Mon, closed
F at Delancey St.; J, M, Z at Essex St.; B, D at Grand St.
For Lillian Wald, the nurse who helped found the Henry Street Settlement, the health of a community didn't end with its medical needs. Arts programs were also considered essential, and certainly scarce among the tenements of the Lower East Side. Today, music, painting, photography, dance, and theater are among the forms that are prescribed at the Settlement's Abrons Art Center. The Center itself is made up of two buildings: the landmark Harry De Jur Playhouse, and a larger, more utilitarian space next door. The playhouse (with elegant Georgian Revival details) looks even older than its 1915 completion date and the 350-seat theater inside has hosted the likes of Martha Graham and Dizzy Gillespie, and today offers everything from Chinese poetry to opera. The Center's other building is very much 1975, the year it was opened. As one of the nation's first arts centers to target a lower-income community, the structure's expanses of brick are painfully in tune with nearby project architecture. A plaza along the building's curving facade provides space for outdoor performances, while inside you'll find a 150-seat black box theater and a 99-seat recital hall. Rotating art exhibitions fill two galleries including the Charles E. Culpeper Alcove Gallery, a small hall dedicated to photography.Summer Camp
Weekdays in summer, the Barbara L. Tate Summer Arts Camp exposes kids to dance, music, theater, and the visual arts.