BY BROOKE SMITH
State Senator James Sanders Jr. recently hosted a Southeast Queens Grants Fair for Artists at the Jamaica Arts Center for Arts and Learning.
The fair featured information on how to obtain grants funding, free materials for arts projects and available space to conduct work, in an effort to encourage and promote the growth of local arts and culture.
“When we think of community, we think of vibrancy and life, and some of the things that say that a community is alive are its arts and culture,” Sanders said. “When we look at communities that are dying, one of the first things that goes is the arts. They don’t have the time, or they don’t invest the time, or they invest poorly, and we can say those communities may not last.”
A variety of dancers, designers, poets and filmmakers in attendance took part in a panel discussion featuring representatives from the New York State Council on the arts, Queens Council on the Arts, Exploring the Metropolis Inc. and Materials for the Arts.
The New York State Council and the Queens Council on the Arts both offer a number of grants each year for individual artists as well as acting as fiscal sponsors. Materials for the Arts provides free materials to nonprofit organizations with arts programming. Exploring the Metropolis assists performing artists and companies with finding affordable available spaces in which to rehearse and perform.
“As we all know space has become more and more of a critical issue for some time here in New York City,” said David Johnston, executive director of Exploring the Metropolis Inc. “It’s very important to us as an organization that performing artists in New York have the space they need to do their work and that we have world-class artists working in every part of New York City wherever there is available space that is not being utilized.”
While speaking to the attendees, Sanders said he was inspired to see so many artists actively seeking ways to pursue their dreams and accomplish their creative goals, and he encouraged them to continue on their path.
“Art lets us understand that we are one. A true artist is one who shares, so I commend all of you artists for sharing, for ensuring that future generations will enjoy even more than we have had in days gone by,” he said.