Here’s a bright idea for the most light-filled day of the year.

Socrates Sculpture Park will host a four-hour Summer Solstice extravaganza on Friday, June 21, starting at 6 p.m. (Attendance is free.)

The goal is to offer something for everyone while also celebrating the sun’s ascendancy in a spiritual way. For youngsters, Agostino Arts will organize face-painting, and Noguchi Museum will lead lantern-making activities. The Free Style Arts Association will build spaceship figurines, and Tamar Ettun, a sculptor and performance artist who once had a fellowship at Socrates, will light up inflatables.

At the same time, Liz Nieves will read tarot cards, and LaGuardia Community College’s Natural Sciences Department will provide telescope tours of the sky.

On a stage, Heritage O.P., an acoustic percussion and vocal ensemble, will play music from the African Diaspora. (The OP stands for “organic percussion.”) At other times, the Haiti-inspired Imamou troupe and the Secret Society Dance Company will perform.

Then when the sun goes down, the celebration will heat up. Urban Shaman Mama Donna, a metaphysical guide and author of several books on rituals related to the seasonal cycle, will summon positive spirits. The cultural group Cetiliztli Nauhcampa Quetzalcoatl in Ixachitlan will form a circle where participants will dance or do whatever moves them in an effort to increase global harmony. Plus, Kevin Nathaniel, who plays ancient African instruments and channels sound as a universal healing force, will play a Mbira, which is similar to a thumb piano.

This Summer Solstice bash also coincides with the recent unveiling of two outdoor exhibitions. “Chronos Cosmos: Deep Time, Open Space” features pieces that consider space, time and matter in relationship to celestial entities and earth-bound systems. For inspiration during their creative processes, the artists contemplated sources such as afro-futurist theory, amateur astronomy, ancient perspectives, atomic physics and non-Western histories.

The other display is “Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear,” which consists of a mirrored cubic kiosk with sliding wall-doors and applied signage.

Socrates Sculpture Park is at 32-01 Vernon Blvd.

The Summer Solstice is when the sun reaches its highest position in the sky. Also referred to as “midsummer,” the day has been celebrated by various cultures around the globe since prehistory. Its name derives from the Latin words “sol” and “sistere,” which mean “sun” and “to stand still,” respectively.

Images: Socrates Sculpture Park, Urban Shaman Mama Donna, and Cetiliztli Nauhcampa Quetzalcoatl in Ixachitlan


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