Long Beach gears up for 'Friday Nights in the Plaza' with music and art


As summer begins, Long Beach is gearing up for the return of “Friday Nights in the Plaza.”

The event that debuted in 2022 is set to light up Kennedy Plaza once again on June 7 and Aug. 2, from 5 to 9 p.m.

Created from a collaborative effort between Artists in Partnership Inc., Arts in The Plaza, and the City of Long Beach, “Friday Nights in the Plaza” came together as a response to the need for community engagement following the challenges of the pandemic.

“We were looking for ways to promote additional events where the community could engage in safer outdoor venues after having gone through the isolation and restrictions brought on by the pandemic,” director of Artists in Partnership Johanna Mathieson said. “Having had a successful initial run that included the Toro Nagashi Lantern Ceremony, multi-cultural art installations, musical performances and an artists’ market, it was decided that we would continue the project.”

The June 7 event will pay homage to the longtime, nationwide popular band the Grateful Dead. Attendees can a performance from Half Step, a renowned band known for capturing the essence of the Dead’s iconic sound. Meanwhile, Kennedy Plaza will transform into its version of “Shakedown Street,” featuring many artists from Arts in The Plaza. Don’t forget to bring a chair for a comfortable viewing of the performance.

Beyond entertainment, these events provide spaces where people can come together, share their stories and build bridges of understanding, according to Mathieson.

By providing a platform for a variety of artists, the event aligns with the missions of Artists in Partnership and Arts In The Plaza, both of which are dedicated to increasing the visibility of the arts in the city.

“Local artists and arts organizations should be supported because it is through their efforts and talents that the arts are able to grow in a community thereby improving the quality of life for everyone,” Mathieson said.

“Studies show that the arts are good for the economy, good for our mental health, for our social interactions and good for business. Friday Nights in the Plaza” is the epitome of shopping local and supporting small businesses- every booth is an opportunity to connect with a local artist.”

Details about the Aug. 2 event are expected to be announced soon.

To keep up with this event and others hosted by Artists in Partnership throughout the summer, visit them online at AIP4Arts.org.