Several Queens-based arts and cultural organizations are coming together to host a monthlong celebration highlighting the borough’s culture and creative diversity in June.
The Queens Rising festival will partner with many arts organizations, multipurpose venues and galleries in Queens to present dozens of multidisciplinary performances, exhibitions and cultural events.
The initiative arose from an Arts Advisory Board meeting of the Kupferberg Center for the Arts, where leading individuals representing various Queens arts and culture organizations gathered to form a planning committee. The larger Queens artistic and cultural community were invited to join various working groups to help with Queens Rising’s programming, operations, marketing and fundraising.
Participating organizations will present work that highlights the immense variety of traditions and cultural expressions that make Queens one of the most diverse regions in the world, a borough whose resiliency and strength will overcome any present — or future — challenges.
While Queens Rising’s core programming will take place within Queens, the celebration will be extended throughout New York City, with arts and cultural institutions in other boroughs showcasing Queens-based artists and organizations.
“As the most diverse place on the planet, Queens is rich with an arts and culture community that reflects that diversity and its unmatched beauty. I’m thrilled Queens Rising will kick off in the summertime to welcome visitors to the ‘World’s Borough,’” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “Now more than ever, it’s important to showcase the resilience and creativity of our artists and cultural institutions — because even in the darkest days of the pandemic, culture never closed — as we work to rebuild our economy and come back stronger.”
As Northwell Health has signed on as a lead sponsor of the festival, Lorraine Chambers Lewis, executive director of Long Island Jewish Forest Hills, said while they were at the epicenter of COVID, the hospital was able to come through with the help of the community that is more resilient than ever.
“As a community hospital that not only serves the health care needs of Queens but also draws the majority of our staff from within the diverse neighborhoods that make up our borough, LIJ Forest Hills is Queens,” Chambers said. “We’re so thrilled to be part of Queens Rising NYC to celebrate the rich tapestry of arts, culinary and creative communities that make our borough so unique.”
Karesia Batan, of the Queensboro Dance Festival, said they’re excited to be part of the multidisciplinary initiative to celebrate all of Queens together.
“We envision this to be an unprecedented way that large and small arts groups in our borough work together, and that Queens Rising will be a wonderful visibility for the many unsung cultures and stories of our artists here that will be accessible for everyone to experience,” Batan said.
Leonard Jacobs, of the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, said they’re honored to be among the organizations involved in the Queens Rising initiative from the moment of its inception.
“We couldn’t be prouder of what it represents to the arts, entertainment and culture sector. Because it is a fact: Queens is rising. Collectively and individually, we’re giving the long overdue recognition that our borough, dynamic and diverse, absolutely deserves,” Jacobs said.
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