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Photo courtesy of Flushing Town Hall

BY TAMMY SCILEPPI

In times of crisis, the arts remind us of our shared humanity.

Relax, take a deep breath, grab your favorite snack and connect with others in your community and beyond as you experience and enjoy Flushing Town Hall’s exciting new lineup of free, virtual programming.

Despite the pandemic, the nonprofit hasn’t skipped a beat; they’ve been streaming all-new, live performances, along with prior shows taped at its venue, hosting virtual hangs, and posting arts learning activities for children – through their popular series FTH at Home!

Photo courtesy of Flushing Town Hall

Since successfully launching in April, FTH at Home! continues with all-new, virtual happenings in June, presenting streamed concerts on Friday nights, arts education activities for children, and live gatherings for public participation — including a jazz jam and Zoom community hangs.

“Join us online! Tune into one of our Zoom Community Hang sessions so we can see your smiling faces, participate in an online arts workshop with your kids, or clap along and dance around your living room while enjoying both new and familiar sounds at our next Facebook watch party,” said Flushing Town Hall’s Executive & Artistic Director Ellen Kodadek.

She added: “Looking ahead, we are awaiting CDC, city and state guidelines for safely re-opening small venues. When that reopening day arrives, it will truly be a cause for celebration. It will mean that the pandemic has sufficiently declined. The priority will be to re-book groups that were canceled this season, but until that is permissible and possible, the institution will program with an increased focus on local artists who can more readily travel.”

While their doors are temporarily closed in accordance with COVID-19 social distancing measures, Flushing Town Hall would like to share their global arts programming online while keeping the Queens community culturally engaged.

FACEBOOK LIVE: A Virtual Tribute to NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Heath, the music director of the Queens Jazz Orchestra (Friday, June 19, 7 p.m. EDT)

Celebrate Heath’s life and legacy in a virtual tribute – “I’m Back Swinging Again!” Mr. Heath, who passed away in January at the age of 93, had been due to return to FTH’s stage with his orchestra that evening. The event will be livestreamed on FTH’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/flushingtownhall and will feature excerpts from a previous concert by the Queens Jazz Orchestra, testimonials from family and friends, snapshots of Mr. Heath throughout his career, and several performances by his former colleagues. Click here to learn more & participate: http://www.flushingtownhall.org/jimmyheath

Step Up Soirée – A Virtual Gala (Saturday, June 27, 7 p.m. EDT)

Each year, FTH hosts its annual gala to raise funds and celebrate their mission of bringing people together through global arts. They remain committed to that — even in the virtual world — by presenting arts and cultural traditions from around the globe. This year’s re-envisioned virtual gala will be streamed live and open to the public on various online platforms. Partake in this special event from home and join in for entertainment and a salute to our medical heroes at New York-Presbyterian Queens. http://www.flushingtownhall.org/gala

Call and Response: Grief, Resiliency and Hope in the Time of COVID

Amid the pandemic, we’ve all been impacted differently. FTH is taking this moment and asking New Yorkers to express their thoughts through art — and will showcase their work in a new outdoor exhibition. The general public, families, professional artists and amateurs are invited to create artistic expressions of grief, resiliency and hope, and to share them in an exhibition to be hung on FTH’s fence on Northern Boulevard. http://www.flushingtownhall.org/call-and-response

FTH at HOME: Global Arts for Global Kids

FTH’s education team continues to provide support for schools and families by sharing arts content online through this great video series. Students from 14 NYC schools have enjoyed educational videos since March, with accompanying study guides on topics as diverse as the Queens community.

Dedicated Teaching Artists are offering online classes in this new arts education series, which will run Tuesday through Friday, and culminate in an online family matinee performance on Saturday. Each day, participants will enjoy short videos of music or dance and post-lesson activities.

This series has been warmly received in virtual school classrooms, as well as senior centers, and got 2,500-plus YouTube views in April.  http://www.flushingtownhall.org/fth-at-home-gagk

FTH at HOME: Global Arts for Global Kids with Smithsonian

As our thoughts turn to summer, this series also shifts from in-depth virtual classes to lighter online learning. In affiliation with the Smithsonian, FTH EDU has been exploring their Year of Music collection and video archive throughout the month of June: from blues, rock and hip-hop, to Latin music and jazz (June 15 to June 19), and folk and country (June 22 to June 26). Students of all ages will enjoy viewing items from the Smithsonian, such as bomba drums and Ray Charles’ keyboard, and then digging in with post-video activities. http://www.flushingtownhall.org/gagk-smithsonian

FTH at HOME: Facebook Watch Party!

Tune in every Friday at 7 p.m. EST for Facebook #WatchParty streaming prior live performances at FTH, and discover the diverse, family-friendly arts performances their audiences have grown to love. There’s something for everyone! http://www.flushingtownhall.org/fth-at-home-watch-party

FTH at HOME: ZOOM Artist Hang

Open to artists of any discipline. Kodadek hosts every Friday at 5 p.m. EST.  You can participate with or without video. http://www.flushingtownhall.org/fth-at-home-zoom

VIRTUAL Jazz Jam!

Led by Carol Sudhalter and FTH’s wonderful house band, their Jazz Jam musicians from Queens, as well as others from around the world, will be sharing their music to lift your spirits and honor those we have lost. If you’d like to watch this session LIVE, simply tune in to their Facebook page. http://www.flushingtownhall.org/virtual-jazz-jam

CrossCurrent Contemporary Dance Virtual Festival

Produced by Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company and presented by FTH, this virtual festival aims to foster creative contemporary dance choreography in the Asian American Community by showcasing new works by Asian-American choreographers and in-depth discussion with the artists and Chen. This event will be live streamed on FTH’s Facebook page. http://www.flushingtownhall.org/crosscurrent-contemporary-dance-virtual-festival

Flushing Town Hall is pleased to present these programs free of charge but welcomes donations from those who are able and moved to contribute. Donations of any amount are accepted here: http://www.flushingtownhall.org/donate

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