Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning to host second annual free arts festival

The Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, located at 161-04 Jamaica Ave. (Photo courtesy of JCAL)

The Jamaica Center for the Arts and Learning (JCAL) will present its second annual Building Equity Culminating Festival from Dec. 11 to Dec. 17. The multidisciplinary arts festival will feature events spanning from live music to dance, insightful panels and more. 

Building Equity for BIIPOC (Black, Immigrant, Indigenous, People of Color) Artists is a program founded by JCAL in 2020 dedicated to researching, engaging and promoting underrepresented artists in the community, and to providing greater access for audiences to see and to experience their work.

“The first show of our second Building Equity year was in March 2022, and with every show, community representation was strengthened on stage — and in the audience,” said Wendy Arimah Berot, JCAL’s manager of special projects. “I have had audience members hug me at the end of a show, thanking me for making them feel ‘at home.’ New York Community Trust gave us the opportunity to showcase the diverse beauty that is in Queens, and we have succeeded in a monumental way.”

This year, JCAL has presented more than a dozen events conceived by the Building Equity Advisory Council, a group of community-based curators and facilitators. 

On Sunday, Dec.11, the festival will begin at 12 p.m. with “UNDEFINED,” a visual arts exhibition curated by Renee Joshua-Porter.

Then, on Tuesday, Dec. 13, JCAL will present “It Takes a Village,” an intimate roundtable discussion on the challenges and successes of raising children in current society, an event conceived by Persephone DaCosta.

On Wednesday, Dec. 14, Joshua-Porter will facilitate a demo of “Uncooking” — a method of using budget-friendly ingredients to promote healthy eating — in “Working With What You Got.”

On Thursday, Dec. 15, legendary pioneer rapper Sweet Tee will appear in an “honest” discussion about straddling life, both on and off stage.

On Friday, Dec. 16, a second exhibition, “Sacred Landscape of the Divine Feminine, an Intergenerational Art Experience,” will open, curated by Lisa D. Wade. JCAL will then host the dance event “Episodes of the Soul,” created by Zazel O’Garra of ZCO/DANCEPROJECT.

The festival’s final event, “Just BEing,” curated by Carolyn “Candy” Johnson, is an “artistic blend of various pronouncements in relation to ‘this thing called life,’ identity and chosen existence that creates a space for all to commune in a common rhythm.”

For more information, visit jcal.org.

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