By Tammy Scileppi
You can call it an arts “montage” on steroids.
An unprecedented Queens-centric event, showcasing a diverse kaleidoscope of local talent, is set to take place Friday, Sept. 7, at Flushing Town Hall — located at 137-35 Northern Blvd.
Arts enthusiasts from everywhere can experience this unforgettable, all-encompassing creative explosion of dance combined with visual artistry; it’s what happens when two popular LIC-based entities – Long Island City Artists (LIC-A) and Queensboro Dance Festival (QDF) – join forces for one spectacular evening.
It all starts with Friday’s opening reception, showcasing the “Flushing Bound” arts exhibition at Flushing Town Hall from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The exhibition, in which visitors can feast their eyes on a variety of conversation-starting works — including figurative and abstract paintings, photography, mixed media assemblages and works on paper — will run from Sept. 8-29.
But there’s much more to take in. You can groove to the sounds of the Cambria Heights jazz band at 7 p.m., then check out some vibrant, multi-cultural and contemporary QDF performances, featuring local dance companies. The festival starts at 7:15 p.m. with music followed by dance performances at 8 p.m.
The eagerly-anticipated festival tours the borough’s parks, plazas, libraries, streets and theaters from May to October.
While the upcoming exhibition was curated with arts fans who would like to understand more about the dynamics behind the creative process, another goal is to introduce LIC-A — a nonprofit arts advocacy group — and its artist members to the Flushing community.
“There is an incredible array of talent that is showcased in ‘Flushing Bound,’” said curator, artist, and teacher Carol Crawford. “LIC-A members work within a wide variety of styles and concepts that reflect the fascinating diversity of Queens. This art showcase will open your eyes.”
Connecting with people and bringing local communities together through meaningful dance works and innovative programming has been the Queensboro Dance Festival’s raison d’etre since 2014. The dance genres represented include Indian, tap, Brazil Zouk, hip-hop, Chinese, contemporary, Mayan, ballet, and Filipino.
Scheduled to perform at Flushing Town Hall are: Sheep Meadow Dance Theater (LIC), NSquared Dance (Astoria), NY Hung Sing Kwoon Lion Dance (Flushing), Dugal Dance Projects (Woodside), Sector Dance (Astoria), Barbara Mahler (Jackson Heights), SUNPROJECT (Astoria), and featured guest Calpulli Mexican Dance Company (East Elmhurst).
“You get to see a slice of what Queens dance is — who the artists are and what they are creating here,” said festival founder and executive director Karesia Batan. “It’s about cultivating a stronger sense of the Queens dance community for both the dancers and the public. This was such an exciting coincidence, when we realized our organizations were opening shows at Flushing Town Hall the same night. LIC-A and QDF are neighbors and showcasing local artists together felt special, meaningful. We decided to imagine our shows as a unique collective event where the public could enjoy local art, music, and dance in one evening.”
LIC-A member and LIC resident Jessica Doh’s work, explores her lifelong fascination with the relationship of colors to shapes, and “revels in the juxtaposition of the intended and the unintended,” according to the artist.
“Often the most beautiful things I create are unexpected and unforeseen. I hope to share some of these moments,” she said.
By combining collage and mixed media elements with paint, another LIC-A artist, Siu Wong-Camac, said she achieves “a desired affect that happens intuitively and organically.” The Sunnyside resident described her work, including “Submerged,” as “visceral and dreamlike, touching on our relationships with nature and each other, as well as the abstract and the concreteness of living beings – always shifting, as aspects cohere and fragment, reflecting a greater world beyond our conscious minds that is both ambiguous and mysterious.”
“It is a magnificent process – claiming the freedom to harness points, lines, and dimension in depicting what I see as Art. I had to lose myself in it and indulged without control. And now I know that in so doing, I moved beyond my own expectations, and realized that there is absolutely no limit to what one may learn and discover,” said Elsie Apacible, who creates her masterpieces from the garage studio of her LIC home.
In her piece, titled “Gantry Park,” Rebecca Kanfer uses geometric patterns of the landscape complimented by complex shapes and textures of nature, and said she seeks to “rediscover familiar vistas and capture stories about our everyday landscape.” Her studio is in the LIC Arts Center, located at 44-02 23rd St.
“As a Queens arts community, we want the evening to represent our borough, and the creative perspectives in it,” Batan said. “We aren’t only gathering artists together across genres, but also bridging Western and Eastern Queens communities through art.”
Flushing Bound is free to attend. Tickets to the pre-show jazz and QDF performances are $20 ($12 for Flushing Town Hall members, and free for teens). Visit www.flush