New York Foundation for the Arts announces recipients of the 2023 Queens Arts Fund

Two women leaning in to view the digital screen on the back of a camera to see the photo that was just taken of them.
Jasmin Chang and Kisha Bari of JCKB Studios (Queens Arts Fund Arts Access ’23), “Hey Neighbor NYC,” (Photo by Emily Schiffer for Hey Neighbor NYC)

The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), in partnership with the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), announced 142 recipients of the 2023 Queens Arts Fund (QAF) on Thursday, April 20.  

The annual city-funded program, administered by NYFA for Fiscal Year 2023, offers project grants to Queens-based artists, artist collectives and small nonprofit organizations of all artistic disciplines to support the local production of artwork and cultural programs that highlight, engage and bolster the borough of Queens. 

Key to the program is that all recipients must have a public component — held in-person, virtually or a combination of both — in Queens within the 2023 calendar year to provide Queens community members with the opportunity to experience dynamic, easily accessible arts and cultural events. 

“We’re proud to administer the Queens Arts Fund in partnership with New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and Queens Council on the Arts,” said NYFA Chief Executive Officer Michael Royce. “As one of the most vibrant cultural places in the world, we’re thrilled to help support the many disciplines and perspectives of Queens-based artists, organizations and collaboratives. We look forward to engaging with recipients’ work throughout 2023.”

Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo said the arts community of Queens is “as vibrant and diverse as the borough itself,” and that the agency is proud to invest in the “creative pursuits of the artists, collectives, and community groups” that thrive here. 

Gotham Dance Theater (Queens Arts Fund Arts Access ’23); Emily Hart Lopez, Nadia Khayrallah, Davonna Batt, Corry J. Ethridge, Marc Nuñez, Lia-Shea Tillett, and Michaela Ternasky-Holland. (Photo by Mike Esperanza)

Selected projects, which will be supported by $457,600 in total funding, span creative disciplines including poetry; plays; and community-based, dance, film, installation, multimedia, music, textile and sculptural works.

The projects explore topics including immigrant experiences; cultural, racial, and gender identity; the pandemic and its impacts; climate change; and home and placemaking. Together, they present a multi-faceted reflection of Queens, one of the most ethnically diverse urban areas in the world. 

2023 QAF projects include:

Nina Fiore and Astoria Film Festival’s “Disability is Diversity! Screening and Panel,” which guides disabled and neurodivergent youth from around New York City through each phase of the production process in order to produce their own programming that highlights disabled individuals. The project will premiere on June 10.

(Queens Arts Fund New Work ’23) during the Astoria Film Festival Media Production Lab training, March 2023. (Photo by Nina Fiore)

Dani Changah Song’s “Prayer Cocoon,” a sculpture-performance artwork that addresses the transformative state of life post COVID-19 pandemic. A cocoon-like body suit representing a new kind of pandemic PPE (personal protection equipment) is the centerpiece of the performance.

Como un Lugar: Annual Latin-American Poetry Festival, a bilingual poetry, music, and performance arts festival produced by and for Latinx and Latin American communities in New York City. This, the third annual iteration of the festival, will be themed around environmental justice.

DanceStream Projects’ “Stories in the Moment: Our Portraits,” with Queens Community House Social Adult Day Services community in Forest Hills, will co-create miniature dances on film of movement portraits that highlight the stories of people living with dementia.

Gotham Dance Theater’s “Summer Suite 5.0,” an annual upbeat, joy-filled street jazz, contemporary, and hip-hop dance performance set to popular global music in multiple languages. “Summer Suite” is presented outdoors on multiple dates, which includes free public performances and classes.

WMN’s “Thresholds,” a printed zine of lesbian art and poetry that showcases work by lesbians who are trans, gender non-binary, and/or non-conforming. The publication addresses the severe lack of lesbian content, particularly marginalized lesbian’s voices, within the art world.

Cecilia Lim (Queens Arts Fund New Work ’23), “Let the Plants Hold You,” 2020, digital drawing toner-printed, 8×10. (Photo by Cecilia Lim)

In the application and review process, inclusivity and representation that reflects the diversity of Queens communities was a strong consideration for staff and panelists. 

Of the recipients, 78.4% identify as Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC); 67% of the 93 recipients who chose to disclose, identify as women or gender non-conforming/nonbinary. The recipients represent more than 20 distinct neighborhoods in Queens. 

The panelists were similarly diverse, as 88% of the participating 48 panelists identified as Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC). Panelists represent 16 distinct neighborhoods in Queens. NYFA also ensured that language access was a considered part of the application process, making materials available in Spanish and Chinese, alongside English.

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said the council is proud to support local artists, art collectives, and cultural organizations that produce public programming featuring the World’s Borough. 

“Arts and culture as the heartbeat of our city, enriching the lives of New Yorkers and providing avenues for self-expression,” Adams said. “I look forward to seeing the impact of these creative projects.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards thanked the NYFA and the city Department of Cultural Affairs for their partnership as they ensure the borough’s unparalleled culture scene receives the financial support it deserves. 

“Queens’ art scene is as diverse and dynamic as the borough itself, and this critical funding distributed through the Queens Art Fund will make a world of difference for so many incredible organizations putting on first-class programming across ‘The World’s Borough,’” Richards said.