By Tammy Scileppi
What would local artists and arts organizations do without Queens Council on the Arts’ ongoing support?
City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) has fought on behalf of the arts and cultural community in Queens and New York City for the past nine years as Chairman of the Committee on Cultural Affairs. He says QCA’s work “has been integral in the rise of Queens as a pre-eminent borough for arts and culture in New York City.”
Their powerful impact on the changing arts scene here over the past 50-plus years is truly remarkable and worthy of a gala celebration. So they’re bringing out the steel drum players and limbo dancers and doing it “Caribbean Carnival”-style. The lively event will take place at the Knockdown Center, located at 52-19 Flushing Ave. in Maspeth, on Thursday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Guests will enjoy a refreshing dose of unconventional entertainment, including Queens-based sketch artists who will be drawing attendees in 60-second intervals. Along with inaugural Cultural Equity Champion Award-winner Van Bramer, honorees will include Chocolate Factory Theater Executive Director Sheila Lewandowski, LaGuardia Airport General Manager Lysa Scully and AKI Development President Aki Todic.
Proceeds will benefit QCA’s Emerging Artist Fund, which supports up and coming artists and cultural leaders in the borough.
“QCA is often the first supporter of an artist living and working in Queens, helping launch the careers of many thousands of poets, choreographers, composers and arts educators. For over 50 years, QCA has helped support the global arts scene, since our artists are the world’s artists in the world’s borough,” Lewandowski said in a recent statement. “For over 50 years, Queens Council on the Arts has provided direct support to artists at all stages of their careers, including emerging and established arts educators, folk artists and artists focusing on community engagement.”
She added: “While The Chocolate Factory Theater does not receive direct support from Queens Council on the Arts, since we are supported directly by New York State Council on the Arts and the Department of Cultural Affairs of NYC, a number of the emerging artists we have commissioned and presented have received funding directly from QCA. That direct support was critical to those artists in the development of their practice and work.”
In another statement, executive director Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer said “Queens is and will always be the epicenter of diversity. QCA is committed to helping artists with roots from around the world to develop to their fullest potential for the benefit of others. Our gala is a celebration of the creative communities of Queens and the people who make it possible for us at QCA to continue to create spaces and opportunities for artists to thrive.”
For more information and tickets, visit www.queenscouncilarts.org/qcas-gala-2018