Jackson Heights artists bring work to Manhattan

Three artists from Jackson Heights were selected to produce work for a new art venue in Manhattan.
By Naeisha Rose

Alex Poots, the artistic director and CEO of the new Manhattan art venue The Shed, announced last week that 52 artists and collectives across disciplines have been selected as part of the venue’s inaugural open call and will create projects that are expected to be presented in late spring 2019 and in 2020.

“Our programs are built on the belief that there is parity across all forms of art and human creativity,” Poots said Oct. 9. “Open Call is The Shed’s way of offering support and valuable resources to artists in New York City who are working at pivotal stages in their careers.”

Kim Brandt, Neil Padukone and Fran Fraser — each residents of Jackson Heights — learned in August that they were selected for the call and are getting stipends to produce work for the venue.

Each artist will receive a stipend ranging between $7,000 and $15,000 depending on the scope of their project.

The black-box theater venue is located at West 30th Street between 10th and 11th avenues and has a 12,500-square-feet column gallery and 17,000 square-feet of open-air plaza in front of the building, according to The Shed.

The three artists from Jackson Heights have very different specialties and have distinctive pieces in mind.

“I work in performance drawing and sculpture,” said Brandt. “I’m not sure yet [about what my piece is] but it will be a performance with other components to it.”

Brandt was honored to be a part of the inaugural open call.

“I know that it received a lot of submissions,” said Brandt, and “it has a great group of artists.”

More than 900 applications were submitted for the open call, according to The Shed.

Padukone is a musician and a composer, who plays the guitar, as well as Indian instruments like the sitar, dhol and oud.

“The project that I’ve been working on is called Salsa Masala,” said Padukone. “The original impetus for this was what if we had a block party and everyone brought their instruments out and we had a jam…what would it look like.”

An earlier version of his project was featured at the Viva La Comida Festival in Jackson Heights in September.

“Salsa Masala is sort of an Indian, Latin, and black American music fusion,” said Padukone. “When you walk down Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights you hear a lot of Bhangra and Bollywood music, and on the other side of the street you hear a lot of cumbia, bachata and salsa.”

Fraser was born and raised in Trinidad before moving to Jackson Heights. She is a dance and performance artist.

“A couple friends showed me the posting [for the open call] and I said, ‘this looks like a great opportunity,’” said Fraser.

She is producing a solo dance performance and will showcase an earlier version at Gibney from Dec. 13 to 15. Gibney is a dance organization located at 280 Broadway in Manhattan.

“It’s a work in progress,” said Fraser. “I’m glad I have a lot of time and resources to really dive in.”

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

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