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Photo courtesy of Jule/Flickr
Photo courtesy of Jule/Flickr
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer will allocate $24,000 in grants to local organizations.

Four arts and cultural organizations in western Queens will expand their programming in parks thanks to a large part to community grants funded by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

Van Bramer announced on Sept. 17 that $24,000 will be allocated to arts education workshops and cultural programming at local parks in Long Island City, Astoria, Hunters Point, Sunnyside and Dutch Kills during Fiscal Year 2015-2016.

Hip to Hip Theatre, Smiling Hogshead Ranch, Hunters Point Parks Conservancy and the Central Astoria Local Development Corporation will be the recipients with each organization receiving $6,000.

“This dedicated funding will open access to our spectacular parks and expand cultural programming in neighborhoods throughout the 26th District,”  Van Bramer said. “Every child, family and senior deserves direct access to the great work that is being done by cultural groups here in Western Queens. This parks initiative will empower local community groups and provide local artists with the essential resources they need to thrive here in Queens.”

Hip to Hip Theatre, a nonprofit arts organization founded in 2007, will use its grant to develop its Kids & the Classics program and expand its Free Shakespeare in the Park program, which reaches more than 7,000 people in the borough.

“Thanks, thanks, and ever thanks to Council member Jimmy Van Bramer for his tireless championship of the arts,” said Jason Marr, artistic director of the Hip to Hip Theatre. “We are thrilled that our mission of providing free, family-friendly, professional theater in Queens parks aligns with the council member’s admirable priorities.”

The Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, an organization that monitors, protects and organizes special events at Gantry Plaza State Park and Hunters Point Park South will use its grant to “feature many of the great musicians and artists in our community, and continue to grow our cultural and community programs in the park,” according to conservancy president Rob Basch.

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