There are a few great reasons to scream “TGIF!” in Queens these days.

Three local cultural venues are currently offering free admission and special programming on Fridays. It’s a weekly phenomenon at the Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI) and a monthly treat at the Noguchi Museum and the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL).

MoMI, which is located at 36-01 35th Ave. in Astoria’s Kaufman Arts District, bequeaths gallery admission every Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., thanks to a $75,000 grant from the Richmond Country Savings Foundation and public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. This means that visitors can peruse the ongoing exhibitions, but they can’t attend screenings without paying a fee.

The most popular current attraction is The Jim Henson Exhibition, which features almost 300 objects, including 47 of the namesake’s puppets (not all are Muppets), as well as character sketches, storyboards, photographs, and costumes. Plus, monitors show film and television clips and behind-the-scenes footage.

Other popular MoMI gallery shows are Behind the Screen, which explores how film, television, and digital media are made, marketed, and shown; A Whole Different Ball Game: Playing Through 60 Years of Sports Video Games, which provides a selection of more than 40 playable games spanning the last six decades; Don’t Forget the Pictures: Glass Slides from the Collection, which presents projections and installations of more than 100 glass slides from 1914–1948; and “Crossover (The Scene),” a video that Ahmed El Shaer created with inspiration from the lives of migrants in a refugee camp in Calais, France.

On April 5, Noguchi, which is at 9-01 33rd Rd. in Long Island City, will offer free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tours of the site, which was founded by prolific, multi-talented artist and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi, will be offered in English and Japanese at 2 p.m.

The program, Free First Fridays, will expand next month, and Noguchi will stay open until 8 p.m. with a cash bar on first Fridays from May through September.

Meanwhile, JCAL, 161-04 Jamaica Ave., organizes its First Friday Series as a talent incubator. With 7:30 p.m. start times, artists of all disciplines develop and refine their unfinished works in front of live audiences that can attend for free (donations accepted).

Rising Stars of Classical Music is set for April 5. Three youngsters — QingYu Chen, Li Yu Chen, and Jenny Jiang — will play songs by Bach, Leclair, Shostakovich, and other classical composers. Qing Yu Chen is a National YoungArts Foundation finalist who took second place at the 2017 Cooper International Violin Competition and the 2017 Stulberg International String Competition. Li Yu Chen, who plays violin and piano, is in her first year at Queens High School for the Sciences at York College. She has been studying at the Juilliard Pre-College School since she was 12. Jiang, is a freshman at The Spence School in Manhattan. She studies cello at the Pre-College Division of the Juilliard School.

Kita P, a singer/songwriter/guitarist, will take the stage at JCAL on Friday, May 3. Then, multimedia performance artist/videomaker Tara Mateik and choreographer/dancer Brandon Coleman will present a Gay Pride Month Celebration on Friday, June 7.

Images: Sachyn Mital/Museum of the Moving Image (top); Nicholas Knight/The Noguchi Museum (bottom)


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