Flushing Town Hall’s Asian and Asian American arts programs promote cultural understanding

Flushing Town Hall
(From l. to r.) Artists Otter Lee, Alicia Lieu, Kristin Lee, and Magnetic North & Taiyo Na will perform at Flushing Town Hall. (Courtesy of Flushing Town Hall)

Flushing Town Hall is spotlighting Asian and Asian American arts programs this month leading up to Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month in May. 

Throughout the year, the nonprofit features artists from multiple cultural traditions, performing different art forms including world music, jazz, dance, theater, comedy, film, visual arts, cross-cultural programs and more. 

Ellen Kodadek, executive director and artistic director of Flushing Town Hall, noted Flushing’s rich culture, which includes Chinese, Korean, South and Southeast Asian communities. 

“The staff at Flushing Town Hall and the artists we present year-round are from the citywide communities we serve, celebrating the rich diversity of Queens and New York City,” Kodadek said. “Our audiences have a chance to see themselves represented on our stage and in our galleries, and can also come to learn about cultural traditions different from their own.” 

Asians and Asian Americans have increasingly been the target of hate crimes, especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NYPD reports that the early months of 2022 have logged more than double the number of incidents than were committed during the same months last year. 

Cultural organizations can help promote understanding of different cultures through the arts.

“Given the rise in hate crimes against Asians and Asian Americans, it is crucial to provide a platform for Asian voices and to celebrate the diverse cultures of New York City, especially in Queens, the most diverse borough on the planet,” said Shawn Choi, director of marketing and engagement. “New York’s Asian and Asian American artists have pain to express, stories to share and jokes to tell, and we are proud to showcase their incredible talent. We are committed to bringing people together through our programs.” 

Flushing Town’s April and May lineup of events will include these Asian cultural presentations in addition to many other programs, including jazz, cross-cultural music, exhibits and family/school programs:

Crazy Talented Asians & Friends: An Evening of Live Comedy, “We are here. Are you?”

Saturday, April 23, 8 p.m. 

“We are here. Are you?” will highlight Asian American experiences through sketch and stand-up comedy, hosted by Otter Lee and featuring eight rising talents, alongside the Overstep Comedy group and special guest Teresa Ting of Main Street Patrol, who will address the recent rise in hate crimes.

New Music Horizons: Collaborative Artists In Concert 

Sunday, April 24, 2 p.m.

New Music Horizons returns to Flushing Town Hall to present two dynamic composers: classical composer Alicia Lieu and jazz composer Mark Wade. Lieu presents new material from her opera in progress, “UNWRAPPING FORTUNE,” which follows the adventures of protagonists Ivy and Kwan Fai through the themes of love and Chinese Food. 

HOLLA & HEAL: A Live Benefit Concert Featuring Magnetic North & Taiyo Na and Special Guests

Saturday, April 30, 5 p.m. 

A live concert of soul, folk, jazz and hip-hop performed from a distinct and progressive Asian American perspective. The event aspires to be a safe gathering for community healing. Proceeds from the concert will benefit CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities.

Photo Exhibition: HAN IN TOWN

Friday, May 6, 6 p.m. opening reception, 7:30 p.m. artist talk, runs through Sunday, May 15

Presented in partnership with KoreanAmericanStory.org, “HAN IN TOWN (KoreaTown)” is a photo series by Janice Chung, a Korean American artist and born-and-raised New Yorker. The series focuses on Korean American business owners of Flushing, both first and second generation, and seeks to encapsulate a nostalgic era of Flushing, once an epicenter for Korean Americans.

“This project is dedicated to all the moms and pops who fed me, cut my hair and sacrificed everything for the next generation of Korean Americans,” Chung said. 

New York Classical Players: Hommage à J. S. Bach

Sunday, May 8, 2022, 2:30 p.m.

New York Classical Players return to Flushing Town Hall with an in-person, free performance to reunite with audiences. Indulge in two of Bach’s most extraordinary works alongside two premieres drawing inspiration from his musical innovations, featuring conductor Dongmin Kim.

Crazy Talented Asians & Friends: Third Annual Animation Shorts Festival

Friday, May 13, 6 p.m. 

This 90-minute program will present animation shorts selected from several hundred submissions and showcase a wide array of life experiences through masterful art direction, storytelling, animation and sound design. The screenings will be followed by a Q&A with the panel of featured animators.

For the venue’s full schedule of 2022 spring events, visit Flushing Town Hall’s website.

Flushing Town Hall requires all visitors, performers and staff to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 with matching identification. Additionally, masks will be required at all times. For more details on Flushing Town Hall’s COVID-safety measures and vaccine requirements, click here.

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