The Jamaica arts scene is receiving a boost from Councilman I. Daneek Miller, who has allocated $115,000 in discretionary funding to local arts organizations that provide theater, music and dance programs for the community.
Miller, who chose 14 arts organizations to disperse the funds to, said it was not an easy decision.
“The decision-making process is never an easy one, given the shortage of available funding, but I look to organizations who have consistently provided vibrant, flourishing programming, as well as newer organizations who have shown their commitment to making a significant contribution to the arts in our area,” Miller said.
The Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL) is among one of the recipients and they will receive $15,000 for their student workshops. The Caribbean American Repertory Theatre will also receive $5,000 to provide free tickets to students for their performances at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, which is owned by JCAL.
“On behalf of the board and staff, everyone at JCAL is thrilled about Councilman Miller’s unwavering support through the years,” said Cathy Hung, executive director for JCAL. “The fund will support JCAL’s comprehensive array of in-school, after-school, and Saturday Arts Center Workshops that supplement academic learning and provide young people with opportunities to explore and refine their artistic talents.”
Jazz Knights, will receive $5,000 to provide free jazz concerts and jazz education in the community.
Two theater companies, Afrikan Poetry Theatre and Black Spectrum Theatre Company, were granted $7,500 and $30,000 respectively. Afrikan Poetry Theatre will allocate its money toward operating expenses for after-school programs. Black Spectrum Theatre Company, which produces the St. Albans Jazz Festival, will use the money to train children and adults in theater production and acting, producing films and plays on issues affecting the Jamaica community and more.
A Better Jamaica Inc. will provide family-friendly movies in district parks with a $5,000 grant they received from the councilman while Dancing Classrooms, which received $5,000, will provide ballroom dance instruction to fifth- through eighth-graders through its 10-week CORE program.
“I am proud to continue supporting and promoting southeast Queens’ long history of significant arts and cultural contributions,” Miller said. “The evidence is clear that exposure to arts enhances the value of one’s education, and by funding programs that primarily educate our youth, who are tomorrow’s leaders, I am doing my small part to shape the future of our great neighborhoods.”