QCA searching to add diverse artists

QCA searching to add diverse artists
Courtesy of queenscouncilarts.org
By Naeisha Rose

Queens Council on the Arts is launching year two of its Artistic Commissioning Program and is seeking new artists and art producers.

The program opened its application process Aug. 15 and will hold information sessions for prospective artists and art producers in Jamaica and Flushing throughout September and the beginning of October, , according to the Astoria-based non-profit.

The innovative program is seeking art enthusiasts, artists who want to support fellow artists and Queens community members who want to serve as art producers, said Kelly Olshan, QCA’s Artist Commission Program manager.

Once the art producers are selected, they will choose four people to each receive a $10,000 commission to complete work as a choreographer, playwright or photographer and help the awardees as they create art.

“The art producers will engage the artists and stay on with them throughout to help them see the project to the end of its production,” said Olshan. “It’s like a cohort system – by the community and for the community.”

To aid the artists, the producers will have monthly art salons, artist talks and professional development training, according to Olshan. The producers will also help artists with any logistical problems or roadblocks they might be facing while producing their pieces.

Flushing and Jamaica have been selected to find art producers and artists, because they are both very diverse neighborhoods. The goal of the program is to find voices not typically championed within the art world, according to Olshan.

“The priority is to fill gaps in American culture and have a canon of art inclusive of diversity and of the borough,”she said.

Brendez Wineglass, an art producer who was selected from Jamaica, enjoyed her time contributing to the program last year.

“Being an art producer is a really exciting experience. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to select the artists, and to build out the arts and culture matrix in Jamaica, Queens,” said Wineglass.

One of the awardees of the grant from the inaugural program was playwright Judith Sloan of Sunnyside.

“In most artistic ventures, you don’t have community engagement like this,” said Sloan. “The idea that [the art producers] can say ‘we want you to do X, we chose you to work with us to use your skills to meet our needs… it changes the dynamic. There’s something really challenging about that as an artist, but also really exciting and refreshing. It has changed me as a human being and an artist.”

Candidates interested in being a producer or artist can go to www.queenscouncilarts.org/art-commissioning for registration informationfor the Flushing Town Hall informational on Sept. 12, the Hall of Fame Studios meeting in Jamaica on Sept. 17, the Flushing Library session on Sept. 25 or the King Manor Museum seminar in Jamaica on Oct. 2, at 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The application deadline for the program is Oct. 12.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.